Small Banks in Arkansas Feel Consolidation Pressures

by George Waldon  on Monday, Aug. 6, 2012 12:00 am  

Dave Dickson, president of Union Bank & Trust in Monticello, helped organize an alliance of nine community banks in southeast Arkansas. The lending competitors are working together to find ways to reduce costs and boost earnings during these trying times.

"There are certainly dollars to be saved through economies of scale, but we've got to be willing to change," he said. "It's all about saving money because the income is not going to be the same. We've got to look at the expense side of it, and there will be a lot of opportunities there."

The first bottom-line fruit of the Southeast Arkansas Bankers Group is joining forces to fund a $9 million commercial loan. All of the banks were offered an equal share in the financing, and eight of the nine lenders opted to participate.

Dickson expects other profitable ventures to result from their forum.

"We have the mechanism in place to make it happen," he said. "There's nothing wrong with getting together with your peers to share ideas. Whether any dollar savings come out of it, we'll see. But I do believe savings will come."



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