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Former MNB CEO Lunsford Bridges Now Consulting for Simmons

2 min read

Lunsford Bridges, long-time president and CEO of Metropolitan National Bank, is now consulting for Simmons First National Bank, which acquired Metropolitan last year, in a “supervisory role.”

“During his 50-year career he’s built up quite a few relationships throughout Arkansas and in the banking world,” Simmons First spokesman Amy Johnson said Monday afternoon. “He’s thought of as awfully important and we want to keep him engaged with us and involved in the transition.”

Simmons bought Metropolitan from its holding company, Rogers Bancshares Inc., for $53.6 million in cash in a bank auction in September, after Rogers Bancshares filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy. The purchase closed in November.

As part of the agreement, Simmons is merging Metropolitan’s operations into its own. With the absorption of Metropolitan by Simmons, Marty Casteel, the chairman and CEO of Simmons First National Bank, retains that title and is responsible for overseeing the merged operations of the two banks.

Johnson said employees of the merged operations would be working in Metropolitan’s former headquarters, the Metropolitan National Bank Tower Building.

On Thursday, Simmons reported a 53 percent decline in year-over-year fourth-quarter profit as expenses related to its purchase of Metropolitan National Bank of Little Rock weighed on earnings.

Losses on loans made in northwest Arkansas hit Metropolitan hard, and the auction of the bank was a first for an Arkansas bank.

Simmons is a seven-bank financial holding company. In addition to Pine Bluff, it has operations in El Dorado, Hot Springs, Lake Village, Jonesboro, Russellville and Searcy. The company also has banking operations in Missouri and Kansas.

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