Michael Burris, FNBC Bank (Small Bank CFO of the Year Finalist)

Michael Burris, FNBC Bank (Small Bank CFO of the Year Finalist)
Michael Burris

In the current banking environment, there are only two kinds of banks: those that are getting bigger and those that are getting bought. FNBC is trying to get bigger, CFO Michael Burris said.

As of Sept. 30, he said, the Ash Flat bank’s assets were north of $400 million for the first time, a notable milestone on the way to an even bigger goal. “We’re striving for growth. We’re striving for 500 [million], and we’ll get there,” he said.

Burris attended Harding University at Searcy before transferring to Arkansas State University at Jonesboro, where he received his bachelor’s degree in accounting in 1991. He joined FNBC — then First National Banking Co., but now a state-chartered bank — in 1994, when its assets were just peeking above $100 million.

He was named CFO five years ago, just in time to feel the full brunt of the regulatory crackdown that followed the financial meltdown of 2008.

“As tough as it has been, the challenges we faced caused us to become a unified management team with a bright future ahead,” Burris said.

The cost of simply being a bank that is in compliance with the regulations has forced even small, local banks to look for scale. To that end, Burris is now a CFO on the hunt for acquisitions in addition to the organic asset growth that FNBC has historically relied on.

“It is a little scary, but we’ve got to grow,” he said. “We’ve got to get some more mass and take advantage of opportunities whenever they come and whatever they look like. There’s no toad too ugly to kiss. ... You’ve always got to have an open mind.”

In addition to his day job managing risk, Burris is a Sunday school teacher, treasurer of the Highland High School Booster Club and a Little League coach.