Michael Donnell: Finalist, Large Bank Category

by Arkansas Business Staff  on Monday, Nov. 7, 2011 12:00 am  

Michael Donnell
Chambers Bank, Chambers Bancshares Inc.

When Michael Donnell joined the Chambers Bank organization in 1992, total assets at the Danville lender stood at $97 million. Expanding business opportunities and consolidating bank charters have pushed that total to more than $715 million these days.

"To see that kind of growth and all the changes, that's been a unique opportunity," said Donnell, chief financial officer of the bank and its holding company, Chambers Bancshares Inc.

As CFO, Donnell administers and coordinates the asset liability management function, securities purchases and pledges and monitors trust preferred securities and the bank's participation in the Troubled Asset Relief and Temporary Liquidity Guaranty programs.

His management philosophy: "I expect no more of others than I do of myself. Good employees spawn the success of an organization."

He entered banking in April 1992 as a loan officer at the company's Scott County Bank in Waldron. In January 1995, Donnell moved to the company's First Arkansas Valley Bank in Russellville, where he managed branches in Atkins and Pottsville as executive vice president.

In late 1998, Donnell transferred to Chambers Bancshares in Danville to coordinate the merger of the company's Danville State Bank, Scott County Bank and Bank of Amity. He was named CFO of the holding company in April 1999.

"The current conditions presented in our economy are the most challenging our financial institution has ever faced," Donnell said. "With the poor asset quality issues in the banking industry, it has made a chief financial officer's job even more difficult."

Donnell had his sights on a finance degree when he entered Arkansas Tech University in Russellville but changed his focus to a different program as a career gateway.

"I felt like the accounting degree would give me an overall view of the business world," he said.

Donnell graduated in 1991 from Arkansas Tech with a bachelor's degree in accounting and started his professional life as a corporate accountant at the Springdale headquarters of Tyson Foods Inc.

After three months, Donnell was promoted to plant accountant at Broken Bow Okla., where he worked from November 1991-April 1992.

His credo: "Success is never final; failure is never fatal."

He remains active with Arkansas Tech, having served on the university's Alumni Board of Directors, Foundation Finance Committee and River Valley Business Advisory Board.
During the past five years, Donnell has enjoyed working with the Pope & Yell County Single Parent Scholarship Fund, where he is a member of the board of directors.

"That's probably been one of the most fulfilling things I've been involved with in terms of community development," he said.



Please read our comments policy before commenting.