Timeline: From First American to One Bank

by George Waldon  on Monday, Sep. 30, 2013 12:00 am  

At top, northwest Arkansas businessmen M. David Howell Jr. and J.B. Hunt. At bottom, former One Bank CEO and president Layton "Scooter" Stuart with former EVP and COO Mike Heald. The company's mascot, a "first Amercian" Indian, was created by editorial cartoonist George Fisher.

June 27, 1987: A press conference is held on a riverboat on the Arkansas River to announce the three First American banks will be renamed One National Bank, and Hunt & Howell Bancshares will be renamed One National Bancshares.

The original idea of renaming the Little Rock and North Little Rock banks First National is abandoned after a legal fight with William H. Bowen, CEO of Little Rock’s First Commercial Bank. Bowen and officials at First National Bank of Jacksonville claim the First National name is deceptive and causes confusion in the market. First Commercial Bank abandoned the rights to the First National name after the 1983 merger of Commercial National and First National.

Hunt & Howell Bancshares also own First National Bank of Fayetteville, which was bought from Little Rock’s Worthen Banking Corp. for $22 million in 1985.

May 23, 1988: One National Bank opens its 300 W. Capitol Ave. office in downtown Little Rock after a $6 million renovation.

April 26, 1989: David Howell resigns as CEO of One National Bancshares and One National Bank in North Little Rock. At one time, Howell held a 10.6 percent stake in One National Bancshares. He is replaced by Executive Vice President Duncan Miller, who would resign in February 1990.

March 22, 1990: Bill Scholl, president of One National Bank, succeeds Miller as CEO of the bank.

Summer 1991: The Hot Springs bank is sold for $5.2 million to Central Arkansas Bancshares Inc., led by Ross Whipple. Hunt strikes a $32 million deal to sell First National Bank of Fayetteville back to Worthen Banking Corp. for a combination of cash and stock.

One National’s eight-branch network in North Little Rock also is sold for $5.3 million to Worthen. Scholl moves to Worthen as an executive vice president in connection with the deal. Don Park follows Scholl as interim CEO of One National.

The original First American charter is moved to Little Rock. Four Little Rock branches — at 7612 Cantrell Road, 11101 N. Rodney Parham Road, 4520 W. Markham St. and 5601 Kavanaugh Blvd. — are purchased for $1 million from the Resolution Trust Corp. The branches had been part of the defunct Little Rock thrift, Savers Federal Savings & Loan Association.

August 1992: Layton “Scooter” Stuart becomes president and chief executive officer of One National Bank and enters the ownership picture with a 50 percent stake and the other half owned by the Hunt family. The bank has a staff of 91 and total assets of $93.9 million.

By 1995, Stuart adds the title of chairman, succeeding Bryan Hunt, and the bank has total assets of $109.2 million. Stuart’s ownership in One Bank’s holding company, which eventually expands to 99.9 percent, is financed by the Hunt family.

March 9, 1997: One National Bank appoints Mike Heald as executive vice president of operations and Gary Rickenbach as executive vice president of credit administration.



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