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$5M From First National Bank Gets Naming Rights to A-State Convocation Center

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Arkansas State University’s board of trustees voted Thursday to rename the university’s Convocation Center to “First National Bank Arena” following a $5 million contribution to the Red Wolves Foundation from the Paragould-based bank.

“The fact that a strong business leader in our region chose to co-brand with our university speaks volumes about our emerging brand,” A-State Director of Athletics Terry Mohajir said. “We will continue to find creative ways to host exciting events in the First National Bank Arena in order to serve northeast Arkansas and the region.”

The $5 million donation, which was announced during a news conference on the arena’s floor, is one of the largest in A-State athletics history. Naming rights officially go in to effect on Jan. 1 and run through 2029. First National Bank is the first donor to receive rights for the 207,507-SF multi-purpose facility since its opening in 1987.  

“First National Bank has always been committed to supporting the communities we serve, and I couldn’t think of a better way to do that than partnering with Arkansas State University,” said Will Brewer, Vice Chairman of First National Bank. “The Convocation Center has a long history of providing great experiences to families across the state, and First National Bank has a long history of serving families in this area.”

First National Bank was founded as Bank of Paragould in 1889 and specializes in agriculture loans.  The financial institution has doubled in size in recent years, opening seven locations since 2013. The bank now employs more than 200 people at 14 locations in 10 cities across north Arkansas. The company is building a new 60,000-SF financial park in Jonesboro, which is slated for completion this spring.

According to the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation, First National Bank reported profits of $7.1 million on June 30, a 17 percent increase over the past year. Bank capital increased from $112 million to $127 million. It has $1.3 billion in total assets.

In 2014, another bank executive donated money to another A-State athletic venue. Johnny Allison, chairman of Home BancShares Inc. of Conway, gave $5 million toward an expansion of its football stadium, which is named for Home BancShares’ Centennial Bank.

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