One Bank Rebuilds Its Leadership

One Bank Rebuilds Its Leadership
Larry Brown, One Bank’s new SVP and manager of credit administration, is a veteran Arkansas banker. (Jason Burt)

The Feb. 15 hiring of Larry Brown as senior vice president and manager of credit administration marks the second step in rebuilding the executive cadre at Little Rock’s One Bank & Trust.

Brown, a 40-year banking veteran who spent most of his career in Arkansas, brings with him a successful track record of helping turn around financial institutions and dealing with regulators.

His experience in those two areas will prove especially useful at One Bank, where regulatory intervention led to an executive house cleaning. Brown joins Jerry Pavlas in filling two of the top posts at the $439.7 million-asset lender.

Brown and Pavlas, who joined One Bank in October as president and CEO, were brought in to restore operational order after a January 2011 supervisory agreement with federal regulators escalated into an executive shakeup and a fraud investigation last year.

Plans are to elevate Brown to executive vice president and chief credit officer after his regulatory vetting is completed. He also is in line for a seat on the One Bank board of directors.

Pavlas is close to hiring a new chief financial officer who would also serve on the board of directors and round out an executive triumvirate.

For now, there are no plans to hire a chief operating officer, a position vacant since 2011, when Mike Heald also was fired as executive vice president and director.

“We’ll assess where we are and decide if we need another senior executive,” Pavlas said.

The CFO post has been vacant since the Dec. 27 termination of Tom Whitehead, who also held the posts of executive vice president and director.

Pavlas was chosen to replace Layton “Scooter” Stuart, who was fired Sept. 28 as president and CEO on the order of the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency, the bank’s primary federal regulator.

In terms of duties, Brown essentially replaces Gary Rickenbach, who was executive vice president, chief loan officer and director until his ouster was made official in February.

Brown’s banking career started at Worthen Bank & Trust of Little Rock, which served as a launching pad or way point for many a banker.

He comes to One Bank via BancVue Ltd. of Austin, Texas, a bank consulting firm specializing in work with community banks. He has continued to live in Little Rock during his BancVue stint, which began in 2010.

Before joining BancVue, Brown served as executive vice president at Bank of Little Rock from 2002-10. He was brought aboard to help the bank work though regulator issues regarding its loan operations.

“All banks that have issues have loan problems,” Brown said.

He also has served as:

  • Market president in Malvern and Morrilton, helping clean up loan problems for U.S. Bank-Firstar-Mercantile Bank during 1998-2002.
  • Vice president in the Van Buren office of River Valley Bank of Lavaca (Sebastian County) during 1997-98, helping grow loan production before it was sold to First Bank Corp. of Fort Smith in 1999.
  • Founding president and CEO of Northwest National Bank of Gravette during 1996-97.

His early years (1973-82) included Arkansas stops at Westinghouse Credit Corp., National Bank of Commerce in Pine Bluff and First State Bank of Parkin.

Sandwiched between his Arkansas jobs, Brown worked for two Oklahoma lenders, at Wilburton State Bank, where he rose to president and CEO (1982-91); and at Peoples State Bank of Claremore, where he served as president and CEO (1991-95).

His tenure at both Oklahoma banks featured a strong component of solving regulatory problems caused by predecessors.