Bank Assets, Profits Up; Charters Dwindle on List of Largest Arkansas Banks

Bank Assets, Profits Up; Charters Dwindle on List of Largest Arkansas Banks
George Gleason is chairman and CEO of Bank of the Ozarks Inc., the largest bank in Arkansas by total assets. (Karen E. Segrave)

Out-of-state acquisitions by publicly traded banks pushed total assets reported by Arkansas charters up by almost 17 percent to more than $88 billion at year-end 2016.

Net income reported by 101 charters grew by 22 percent, to pass the $1 billion mark for the first time. A quarter of that profit was posted by Bank of the Ozarks of Little Rock.

BOZ nearly doubled its assets last year, to almost $19 billion, by acquiring Community & Southern Bank of Atlanta and C1 Bank of St. Petersburg, Florida.

Simmons Bank of Pine Bluff, No. 4 on the list the largest banks in Arkansas as ranked by assets, reported double-digit asset growth in 2016, in part because of its acquisition in October of the Citizens National Bank of Athens, Tennessee. Since then, Simmons has announced three more out-of-state acquisitions, in Tennessee, Oklahoma and Texas, that are still pending.

(Get the List: The Largest Arkansas Banks by Assets)

The same trend that allowed the largest banks to grow has continued to whittle away at the number of separate bank charters. The total dropped from 104 at the end of 2015 to 101 as of Dec. 31, 2016. Since then, two more charters have been absorbed, putting the total at less than 100 for the first time in living memory, and one more merger is pending.

The Arkansas State Bank Department confirmed that the acquisition of No. 86 Pinnacle Bank of Rogers by No. 73 Central Bank of Little Rock was completed on March 31. The value of the deal, involving some common ownership and in the works since September, has been estimated at $3.4 million.

No. 71 Twin Lakes Community Bank at Flippin, was rolled into sister charter Anstaff Bank of Green Forest on March 4. The two banks had combined assets as of Dec. 31 of about $565 million.

Regulatory approval is pending on the announced acquisition of Farmers Bank of Hamburg, the third-smallest bank in the state, by No. 11 Southern Bancorp Bank of Arkadelphia.

Arkansas Banks Ranked by 2016 Net Income

Rank Bank Net Income ROA
1 Bank of the Ozarks, Little Rock $286,797,000 2.02%
2 Centennial Bank, Conway $184,392,000 1.93%
3 Simmons Bank, Pine Bluff $107,838,000 1.40%
4 Arvest Bank, Fayetteville $102,678,000 0.62%
5 First Security Bank, Searcy $98,290,000 1.99%
6 First Financial Bank, El Dorado $31,979,000 2.35%
7 Farmers Bank & Trust, Magnolia $20,916,000 1.15%
8 Bear State Bank, Little Rock $19,265,000 0.98%
9 First National Bank of Fort Smith $16,924,000 1.37%
10 First National Bank, Paragould $12,556,000 1.16%
11 First Community Bank, Batesville $12,027,000 1.08%
12 Southern Bancorp Bank, Arkadelphia $10,143,000 0.88%
13 Farmers Bank & Trust Co., Blytheville $9,370,000 1.36%
14 Farmers & Merchants Bank, Stuttgart $9,366,000 0.95%
15 Chambers Bank, Danville $9,070,000 0.91%
16 Bank of England, England $8,775,000 2.61%
17 Diamond Bank, Murfreesboro $7,859,000 1.16%
18 Citizens Bank, Batesville $6,302,000 0.84%
19 Citizens Bank & Trust Co., Van Buren $5,682,000 1.49%
20 First Arkansas Bank & Trust, Jacksonville $5,667,000 0.75%