Mark McFatridge Named CEO of Bear State Financial

Mark McFatridge Named CEO of Bear State Financial
Mark McFatridge (Bear State Bank)

Bear State Financial Inc. of Little Rock on Thursday announced that Mark McFatridge had been appointed CEO and director of both Bear State Financial and Bear State Bank effective immediately.

McFatridge is the former CEO of Metropolitan National Bank of Springfield, Missouri. Publicly traded Bear State Financial announced in June that it would purchase Metropolitan for $70 million, and the company completed the deal on Thursday.

McFatridge takes over the CEO positions most recently held by Bear State Financial Chairman Richard Massey, who led the holding company after former CEO Chris Wewers left the company in April to be CFO of Southern Bancorp Inc. of Arkadelphia.

McFatridge has 25 years of experience in the banking industry.

"As Bear State opens this new chapter, the Bear State Board and I are confident Mark has the right blend of regional and community banking experience to lead our company forward," Massey said in a news release. "He has the proven ability to create strategic clarity, drive innovation and growth, and ensure disciplined execution to deliver results. We believe his depth of banking experience as well as his passion for leading high performing teams will drive growth throughout the Bear State pawprint." 

Bear State, formerly First Federal Bancshares of Arkansas and headquartered in Harrison, tripled its assets to about $1.5 million more than a year ago by acquiring First National Security Co. of Hot Springs, the holding company of First National Bank of Hot Springs and Heritage Bank of Jonesboro. Those banks were merged with the former First Federal Bank of Harrison and renamed Bear State Bank.

Bear State's acquisition of Metropolitan pushes Bear State's total assets to $2 billion. The combined company has 55 branches — 41 branches in Arkansas, two in southeast Oklahoma and 12 in southwest Missouri — and three loan production offices in Arkansas and one in Missouri. 

The company also said Thursday that John Ghirardelli, a member of the Metropolitan board, has joined the board of directors of Bear State Financial and Bear State Bank.