Mark Murphy

Senior Vice President

First Commercial Bank

Little Rock

Mark Murphy

In the year that Mark Murphy has been manager of mid-market commercial lending at First Commercial Bank, lending at the Little Rock bank has increased almost 15 percent to $350 million.

His work over the past year has been the most satisfying time of his 17-year banking career, Murphy says, but the circumstances leading to his promotion last year were among the saddest.

Murphy replaced Gary Tarpley after Tarpley's untimely death last April.

"Stepping in and taking over was difficult after the sudden loss of someone who was such a good leader and someone everyone truly cared for," Murphy says.

The 38-year-old Murphy, a product of Star City, began his banking career in 1981 in correspondent banking at Simmons First National Bank in Pine Bluff. He moved to First Commercial in 1985 and began commercial lending in 1993.

First Commercial has 465 commercial lending customers, and the vast majority are Arkansas-based companies.

Murphy's career philosophy has been "to be honest and fair to the best of your ability and always keep the lines of communication open" with customers and coworkers.

He's excited about First Commercial's imminent sale to Regions Financial Corp. of Birmingham, Ala.

"It will give us the ability to do more things, and they'll bring a higher level of technology to the table," Murphy says.

Murphy recently completed a term as president of the Committee for the Future, a fund-raising group for Arkansas Children's Hospital.