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Arvest Names Merling to Operations Slot (Movers & Shakers)

2 min read
Bank Movers 139031 Laura Merling Arvest
In her new role, Laura Merling will lead Arvest’s multiyear transformation strategy, which includes adopting a next-generation banking platform and enhancing capabilities in digital payments and services. ()

Arvest Bank has hired Laura Merling as its chief transformation and operations officer.

In her new role, Merling will lead Arvest’s multiyear transformation strategy, which includes adopting a next-generation banking platform and enhancing capabilities in digital payments and services. She is known for developing and successfully implementing a replicable framework for transformation based on the five pillars that large corporations need to achieve success: a multiyear business vision, customer understanding, technology alignment, metrics and measurement, and governance.

“The financial services industry is at an intriguing inflection point,” Merling said. “Arvest has embraced the change, and is at a point where a programmatic approach to delivering business outcomes can make a significant impact on the journey to creating the next generation of community banking; I’m excited to be a part of it.”

Merling comes to Arvest from Google Cloud, where she was chief transformation officer and managing director. She has more than two decades of experience in the aerospace, automotive, telecommunications and software industries. She has also served as an executive adviser, providing strategic guidance and interim executive advisory services across transportation, energy, retail and financial services industries. She spent the first 15 years of her career in Silicon Valley, where she worked at a range of software companies and startups, most notably Sybase and Mashery.

Merling is a board member and risk and audit committee member of CarTrawler, an adviser to digital manufacturing platform Authentise and a mentor to women seeking leadership opportunities through the Athena Alliance.

Merling studied business administration at Oakland University in Michigan and graduated from the Advanced Management Program at INSEAD in Fontainebleau, France.


Bank Movers 139031 Brennan Abbey
Brennan Abbey of Arvest Bank ()

Brennan Abbey has been promoted to consumer lending sales manager at Arvest Bank in Little Rock. Abbey will supervise a team of consumer loan advisers who will work with employees at every Arvest branch in northeast, central and south Arkansas to foster a customer-focused sales culture.

Bank Movers 139031 Lisa Phillips
Lisa Phillips of Regions Bank ()

Lisa Phillips has been promoted to consumer banking executive at Regions Bank. Phillips, a 25-year financial services veteran, is moving to Little Rock from the Tampa Bay region of Florida, where she served as a consumer banking manager with Regions for the last 15 years.

Allison Raley, an attorney with Mitchell Williams Selig Gates & Woodyard PLLC of Little Rock, has earned a certified cryptocurrency investigator credential. Raley’s CCI credential extends the firm’s virtual currencies, assets and blockchain technology knowledge and expertise for clients.


Libby Pledger has been promoted to mortgage loan officer at First Service Bank in Little Rock. She previously worked as a mortgage loan assistant.


See more of this week’s Movers & Shakers, and submit your own announcement at ArkansasBusiness.com/Movers.

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