Encore Bank Sets Eyes for Texas On 3 Big Cities


Encore Bank’s Texas aspirations stand at three offices and counting. So far, the Little Rock bank has full-service branches in the works for Austin, Fort Worth and Dallas.

The $834 million-asset lender will double the count of Arkansas banks with an office in Austin. Little Rock’s Bank OZK holds 0.43% share ($158.4 million) of the $36 billion-deposit market in the Texas capital.

That ranks 25th among the 50 banks on the ground in Austin, where Wells Fargo Bank of Sioux City, South Dakota, sits atop the list with a 20.84% share of deposits totaling $7.6 billion.

Encore will join Bank OZK and Pine Bluff’s Simmons Bank to expand the count of Arkansas banks in Fort Worth and Dallas to three.

Simmons holds the eighth-largest share of deposits among 56 banks in Fort Worth. Its $833 million total accounts for 2.87% of deposits in the $29 billion market.

Bank OZK holds deposits of $27.5 million (No. 44 at 0.09%) in Fort Worth, where the market leader is JPMorgan Chase Bank of Columbus, Ohio, at 24.55% ($7.1 billion).

Meanwhile in Big D, Bank OZK holds the 26th-largest deposit tally at $684 million, 0.29% of the $233 billion-deposit market.

Simmons holds $301 million in deposits in Dallas. That 0.13% ranks No. 39 in the market.

Among the 87 banks in Dallas, Bank of America in Charlotte, North Carolina, holds the biggest slice of deposits: $101 billion, a whopping 43.5%.

By the way, Encore’s chosen location in Dallas is on the 11th floor of The Terraces at Douglas Center, 5960 Berkshire Lane.

That’s next door to the Berkshire Office Building at 5950 Berkshire Lane, where Simmons Bank does business.

The soon-to-be neighbors in Dallas are courtroom adversaries in Jefferson County Circuit Court.

Simmons v. Encore

Simmons and its parent company, Simmons First National Corp., sued Encore and 11 executives for a string of alleged wrongs highlighted by theft of trade secrets and conspiracy.

The complaint largely surrounds Encore’s recruitment of Simmons staffers who allegedly took proprietary information before heading out the door.

Among the named defendants are four Texas bankers: Julie Fuller Jones, executive vice president and director of SBA lending at Encore; Craig Caldwell, executive vice president and director of specialty finance at Encore; Mary Frosto, senior vice president in the SBA funding department at Encore; and Mark Yeager, senior vice president at Encore who worked in the equipment financing department at Simmons.

Among the Arkansas defendants are Chris Roberts, chairman and chief executive officer of Encore who was executive vice president in the private banking department of Simmons when he left on Feb. 1, 2018; Jimmy Burton Hicks, senior executive vice president and chief operating officer of Encore who was senior vice president of mortgage lending when he left Simmons on March 8, 2019; and Philip Jett, senior vice chairman and president of Encore.

Jett never worked for Simmons. Before joining Encore, he was president of IberiaBank’s central and northwest Arkansas markets.

Other defendants in Arkansas include Justin Moore, executive vice president and director of mortgage banking at Encore who left Simmons on Oct. 4, 2019; Karla Dial, senior vice president and director of digital banking and operations at Encore who left Simmons on April 30, 2020; Stacey McCann, senior mortgage loan specialist at Encore who left Simmons on Sept, 27, 2019.

Rounding out the defendants is Melvin Doug Parker, executive vice president and southwest Missouri regional president at Encore who left Simmons on Sept. 25, 2020.

Encore, backed by a staff of 113, reported net income of $2.4 million during 2020.