Purchases Spur Redevelopment Of Bank Branch Sites

Two competitors recently stepped into the Pulaski County banking market to replace Metropolitan National Bank and National Bank of Arkansas.

Malvern National Bank bought a 7,983-SF office at 1818 N. Taylor St. in the Heights area of Little Rock for $2 million. Jefferson Bancshares Inc., parent of Relyance Bank of Pine Bluff, purchased a 1,209-SF office at 11000 Financial Centre Parkway in west Little Rock for $1.2 million.

Both branches were sold by Simmons First National Bank of Pine Bluff. The properties represent two of 11 branches Simmons marked for sale after last year’s purchase of Metropolitan, which ballooned its Pulaski County branch count from nine to 30.

Malvern National is also working on a new branch near the Bass Pro Shops at the Gateway Town Center in Little Rock.

“We have not looked at anything beyond this,” said MNB President Mark Roberts. “In a perfect world, there very well could be another location out west, but we haven’t gotten that far yet. We are looking in Conway.”

Arkansas Federal Credit Union of Jacksonville is taking one surplus Conway location off Simmons’ hands, but there are still three available. Arvest Bank of Fayetteville retained two Conway branches after buying NBA last year.

Arvest has deals in the works to sell two abandoned branches in North Little Rock, a former Arvest office on McCain Boulevard and a former NBA office on Main Street — but not to other banks.

“We never sell any of our branches to another bank,” said John Womack, CEO of Arvest’s central Arkansas market. “Our philosophy is we want our competitors to experience the joy of developing a new branch from scratch.”

Arvest also intends to sell former NBA branches at 102 Country Club Parkway in Maumelle and at 9400 Highway 107 in Sherwood.

Even with the redevelopment of four NBA branches, Pulaski County has no shortage of banking locations, with 199 full-service branches operated by more than two dozen lenders.

Bear State Financial Inc., the parent company of First Federal Bank of Harrison, has its first full-service branch in Pulaski County thanks to the recent acquisition of First National Security Co.

FNSC was the parent company of First National Bank of Hot Springs, which has had a west Little Rock branch since 2008.

The pending acquisition of Delta Trust & Bank by Simmons puts more bank properties in play. Delta — with three offices in Little Rock, two in northwest Arkansas and four in south Arkansas — was developing a new Conway location.

What about the three former Summit Bank branches in Pulaski County? Bank of the Ozarks, the new owner, is still sorting out plans.

Full-Service Branches in Pulaski County
Total: 199

Metropolitan National Bank, Little Rock*   21
Regions Bank, Birmingham, Ala.   19
Centennial Bank, Conway   18
U.S. Bank, Cincinnati   17
Arvest Bank, Fayetteville   15
Bank of the Ozarks, Little Rock   14
Bank of America, Charlotte, N.C.   13
One Bank & Trust, Little Rock   10
First Security Bank, Searcy   9
IberiaBank, Lafayette, Louisiana   9
Simmons First National Bank, Pine Bluff   9
First Arkansas Bank & Trust, Jacksonville   7
Eagle Bank & Trust, Little Rock 6
Bank of Little Rock   5
National Bank of Arkansas, North Little Rock**   5
BancorpSouth Bank, Tupelo, Miss.   4
Summit Bank, Arkadelphia#   3
Delta Trust & Bank, Parkdale##   3
Allied Bank, Mulberry   2
Bank of England   2


Lenders with one full-service branch:

Central Bank, Little Rock
The Capital Bank, Little Rock
Riverside Bank, Sparkman
Peoples Bank, Sheridan
HomeBank of Arkansas, Portland
Heartland Bank, Bryant
First National Banker’s Bank, Baton Rouge, La.
First National Bank, Hot Springs+

*Now owned by Simmons First National Corp. of Pine Bluff
**Now owned by Arvest Bank
#Now owned by Bank of the Ozarks
##Being acquired by Simmons
+Now part of Bear State Financial Inc. of Harrison