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"I spent my growing-up years — and some may argue that I'm still in the process — trying to decide whether I wanted to [work for his father]," Rutledge said.
In the end, he sneaked in the side door — but he still hasn't worked in the same building with his father.
After earning a degree in finance management at the University of Arkansas' Walton College of Business in 2001, he joined Crews & Associates, the investment banking firm First Security bought in 2000.
He worked for Crews in public finance in northwest Arkansas for a couple of years; then he went back to the UA and earned an MBA in 2004. Since then, Rutledge, 30, has focused on the banking side of the family business — in northwest Arkansas for three years before moving to Little Rock two years ago.
Working out of The Ranch location, he is engaged primarily in business development. Commercial lending, he said, is "scarier now than it used to be" but is still rewarding.
"I would say my favorite thing, without a doubt, is building relationships with your customers and seeing them have success. In banking, you are only as good as your customers."