Then & Now: Rob Woods treasures longtime relationships

by Jeff Della Rosa ([email protected]) 513 views 

Editor’s Note: The following story appeared in the April 8 issue of the Northwest Arkansas Business Journal. “Then & Now” is a profile of a past member of the Business Journal’s Forty Under 40 class.

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Rob Woods, Bentonville-Rogers city president for Batesville-chartered Citizens Bank, has developed many relationships throughout his more than 30-year banking career. These relationships comprise his career highlight.

“The relationships you make in life are some of the best treasures,” Woods said.

In March 2021, he accepted the opportunity to lead the operations of Citizens Bank’s Bentonville and Rogers markets. He previously worked at Fayetteville-chartered Arvest Bank for 16 years, where he was vice president and commercial lender. His office is at 3350 S. Pinnacle Hills Parkway in Rogers.

“Citizens Bank is a privately held, financially strong, well-managed bank with the niche ability to provide big bank products and small town, superior service,” Woods said. “I embraced the challenge of being a part of the leadership team with the goal of growing Citizens Bank’s presence in Northwest Arkansas. To date, our team has been very successful in doing just this.”

Citizens Bank has three Northwest Arkansas locations, including two in Fayetteville. According to the most recent data available from the Federal Deposit Insurance Corp., the bank has assets of $1.4 billion and 17 Arkansas locations.

Woods, 54, relocated to Northwest Arkansas in 2004 to be closer to family after his father was diagnosed with multiple sclerosis. He previously was chief financial officer at a bank holding company in southeast Missouri.

He said moving to Northwest Arkansas was “one of the best decisions I ever made because my dad passed in 2019… Looking back, it’s one of the proudest decisions I ever made because you can’t ever get that time back.”

Since moving to Northwest Arkansas, he said his focus has been on his family. He’s also focused “on maximizing Citizens Bank’s success in Northwest Arkansas” as he “continues to embrace time with family and friends.” And, he’s “been working on several books for many years and hopefully will finish in the foreseeable future.”

While at Arvest Bank, Woods primarily served as a commercial loan officer. In 2008, he was a commercial loan officer and assistant vice president for Arvest Bank in Bentonville when the Northwest Arkansas Business Journal named him to the Forty Under 40 class.

“Northwest Arkansas is home to some of the most special people and best success stories in the world,” he said. “I have been blessed to have established friendships and relationships and investing myself into helping people reach their goals.” He noted that when he mentors people, “one of the guideposts that I communicate is life is driven by the decisions you make.” He also said that the “secret sauce that I adhere to going into my fourth inning of life is my relationship with God, focusing on family and valuing relationships.”

Woods grew up living in multiple areas across the United States and has lived in Northwest Arkansas the longest. He was born on a U.S. Army base in Kansas and lived in North Carolina and northeastern Arkansas. He earned his bachelor’s degree and MBA from the University of Mississippi. As an Ole Miss graduate student, he worked at the Small Business Development Center state office in Oxford, Miss, which paid for his tuition. He graduated debt-free.

He also graduated from the Stonier Graduate School of Banking – University of Pennsylvania, earned Series 7 and 66 securities licenses and became licensed to sell insurance.

He’s been a state commissioner and one of the founding members of the Cord Blood Bank of Arkansas, an entity of the University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences. “My fuel for this was the potential applications to save lives using stem cells,” he said. Woods has also been involved with numerous community organizations, including as a board member for Big Brothers Big Sisters and as a membership chairman for Boy Scouts of America.

Woods resides in Springdale with his 16-year-old son, A.J., and spends his free time attending his son’s sports events, including travel baseball games across the region. His son is also on the Springdale High School varsity football and baseball teams.