We can say this much with confidence: a Wells Fargo corporate jet spent several days at Searcy Municipal Airport earlier this month, and its passengers were guests of the Hampton Inn.
We can’t confirm whether one of those passengers really told a local that they were on a bank-buying mission, as rumored. But we can tell you this:
Reynie Rutledge says he absolutely, positively is not contemplating selling First Security Bank to Wells Fargo or anyone else. And if he were, he sure wouldn’t let a suitor park its corporate jet at the little Searcy airport.
So perhaps the Wells Fargonians landed at Searcy as a diversion from their true destination.
Jonesboro comes to mind … except John Freeman, president of Liberty Bank of Arkansas, also absolutely, positively denies that his bank has been in talks with Wells Fargo.
The financial giant is the fourth-largest bank in the country (behind JP Morgan Chase, Bank of America and Citibank), with $1.18 trillion in assets as of June 30.
Wells Fargo also is the 20th-largest bank in Arkansas as ranked by mid-year deposits of $533 million. That total is entirely attributable to two branches in Texarkana and one in Ashdown.
You might recall that Wells Fargo entered Arkansas in April 2009 by acquiring Truman Arnold’s Century Bank of Texarkana, Texas.
You reckon some out-of-state duck hunters were pulling someone’s leg?