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Simmons First National Corp.

Simmons First National Corp. of Pine Bluff is a financial holding company whose eight banks conduct financial operations from more than 80 offices in more than 40 communities in Arkansas, Missouri and Kansas.

The company is led by J. Thomas "Tommy" May, chairman and CEO. May was a protege of former CEO Louis Ramsay, who began taking May under his wing in 1976. May became president in 1987. At the time, the company had asset of $527 million.

Since then, the corporation has grown to about $3 billion in assets. Under May's leadership, the bank gained national recognition as a major provider of credit card services. Soon, Simmons was a successful statewide network of community-oriented banks and a respected, publicly traded institution.

May has been corporate chairman and lead bank chairman and CEO since 1996. Like other Arkansas banks, Simmons has made FDIC-assisted acquisitions to grow the company beyond Arkansas’ borders, most recently in Kansas.

May has been a vocal critic of the government’s move to restructure the student loan business, which effectively removed community banks from the business.