Shelly Loftin

EVP & Chief Administrative Officer

Bear State Financial

Little Rock

Age: 35

Shelly Loftin

At 35, Shelly Loftin has already worked in the banking industry for 20 years — since she took a job as a proof operator at Union Bank in Benton.

When she was old enough to be bonded, she moved from keying in the amounts on checks to the teller window. Then she moved to Bank of the Ozarks while finishing a degree in marketing and IT at the University of Arkansas at Little Rock.

Her three years at Bank of the Ozarks under CEO George Gleason and EVP Susan Blair “was the best learning ground I could have had” for a future job with a publicly traded company. She joined First Federal Bank of Harrison in 2011, about the time of a major recapitalization, and worked on updating its branding and corporate culture.

A bigger job came in 2014, when First Federal merged with banks in Hot Springs and Jonesboro to create Bear State. The bank’s unique logo was Loftin’s doing.

Loftin oversees both marketing and retail banking, which is an atypical combination that she thinks should be standard. “I think it seems only natural that banks need to focus more on what the whole experience of what their brand looks like,” she said.

Loftin also oversees human resources, mortgage origination and investments and has been a speaker and panelist for multiple national banking organizations.