Tim Hicks Says Bank OZK's Branding Switch Proceeding OK

Tim Hicks Says Bank OZK's Branding Switch Proceeding OK
Tim Hicks 
Chief administrative officer and executive director of investor relations at Bank OZK (Jason Burt)

Tim Hicks grew up in Little Rock and graduated from Hendrix College in Conway in 1994 with a bachelor’s degree in business and economics. A certified public accountant, he held various positions in the Little Rock office of Deloitte & Touche, leaving as a senior audit manager.  After 10 years with the firm, Hicks attended law school and was treasurer for Mike Beebe’s campaign for governor. In 2006, he joined Alltel Corp. as director of investor relations and assistant treasurer.

Hicks hired on at Bank OZK in 2009 as senior vice president of corporate finance, was promoted to executive vice president in 2012, added chief of staff to his title in 2016 and took on his current role as chief administrative officer and executive director of investor relations in July 2017.

Bank OZK was formerly known as Bank of the Ozarks.

Bank of the Ozarks recently decided to rebrand, why?
Our bank has evolved over the past several decades from an Arkansas community bank to a much larger regional bank. We have offices in 10 states and do loan business across the country. We are one of the largest commercial construction lenders in the U.S., and we provide marine and RV loans to consumers through dealers across the nation. We are positioning ourselves for a larger role in the nation’s banking landscape with a name not tied to a specific geography.

What criteria did the bank establish for the new name during the evaluation process?
We wanted our new name to free us from geographic limitations, be modern and distinctive and reflect our commitment to being a leader in technology and innovation. We wanted a name that would embrace our heritage and retain the outstanding brand equity we’ve built over many years.

Did you conduct research to test the new name? If so, what insights did you gain?
We engaged Monigle, one of the largest branding firms in the country, to evaluate the name Bank OZK in markets where we have banking offices and in the top 20 markets in the U.S. where we do not have offices. Bank OZK received very high favorability ratings across all the groups that were surveyed. In markets where we have no presence, whether it was Denver, Seattle or Chicago, the name Bank OZK was perceived as being a local bank.

The name Bank OZK conveyed a bank offering cutting-edge technology, a bank tailoring products and services to meet individual needs and offering extra security to keep finances safe, among other very important brand attributes. The very positive results of the independent research gave us confidence in moving forward with Bank OZK.

The banking industry is evolving rapidly. How does the new name help the company compete in this evolving landscape?
The name Bank OZK is consistent with the focus we have had on being a leader in technology in the banking industry over the last several years. We have an in-house innovation team that has a deep understanding of banking, financial technology and evolving customer expectations that help them develop innovative platforms and solutions to enhance our customers’ banking experiences.

What attracted you to the banking industry?
I wasn’t specifically looking to move into banking. I was looking to join a high-performing company with great leaders that I could contribute to in a meaningful way, and Bank OZK offered that. The banking industry is going through massive changes from consolidation from acquisitions to disruption from technology, and it is a great time to be a part of such an excellent bank in an evolving industry.

Any advice for the next generation of leaders at the bank?
The key to success is to find work that is meaningful and to work hard, consistently do your best, respect every person and when faced with a challenge, do the right thing.