fbpx
Tag

our team

Browsing
Janet Choate, Farmers Bank & Trust Commercial Loan Officer and Volunteer Firefighter

In countless towns across the land, everyday heroes can be found anywhere – even in the smallest of places. And in one tiny southwest Arkansas community of only 285 residents, it’s no different. 

Janet Choate has been a part of the Blevins, Arkansas, community for decades and still calls the small town home today. For a day job, she makes the 15-mile trip to Hope, Arkansas, where she serves as a commercial loan officer with Farmers Bank & Trust. In her spare time, though, she and her husband, Tim, spend much of their lives at the Blevins Fire Department, where they volunteer as local first responders and firefighters. Tim is chief of the two-bay station, while Janet helps respond to fires and emergency and medical situations of all sorts. Both are trained emergency workers with countless hours of training and real-world experience under their belts.

 

Janet and her husband, Tim, Blevins Fire Department Chief

For 20 years, Janet has been a part of the Blevins Fire Department. She joined the agency in October 2002 and has responded to hundreds of emergency and rescue calls during that time. Since Blevins FD is an all-volunteer service, the 12-person roster is tasked with responding to emergency calls within and around the small town. Sure, the agency has mutual aid agreements with surrounding communities and towns, but the immediate response often lies at the feet of the dedicated few within Blevins. 

“We respond to almost anything,” said Janet. “We’ve even helped a get a cat out of a tree before.”

The small fire department, however, is not without resources. The department contains two pumper trucks, a tanker truck, a service truck, and even a new side-by-side ATV for hard-to-reach wooded areas.   

“We’ve been really lucky,” said Janet. “Tim and the fire department have been able to get us so much equipment through donations and grants. We can handle a lot of situations here in Blevins.”

Janet and Tim are also right in the middle of the action in Blevins. The couple resides directly next to the town’s largest and most well-known attraction, Hillarosa ATV Park. The 2,000-acre recreational area and tourist destination has hosted multiple large-scale events over the years, including Mud Nationals 2022, which is one the biggest ATV celebrations in the region. That means lots of people flock to Blevins for these events, but that also means there are plenty of opportunities for emergency calls during the festivities.

 “We see plenty during those big events,” said Janet. “We live right next door, so we are always pretty close to the action.”

 Farmers Bank & Trust, where Janet spends her time during the work week, has also been a big supporter of the Blevins Fire Department. The Arkansas-based lender, through its charitable foundation, recently donated $5,000 to the agency to help equip the new side-by-side ATV for off-site fire and rescue tasks. The move will help Janet and the rest of the rescue team access hard-to-reach areas of the ATV park and its surrounding rural acreage.

 “Sometimes, there can be accidents and injuries at the park, and we’re able to get to them pretty quickly, especially now,” she added.

 The bank has also accommodated Janet when an incident occurs during the day. When she was previously the branch manager at the Farmers Bank & Trust location in Blevins, she was always allowed to respond to calls should an incident occur.

“If we had an emergency call and we had to staff to cover, they would always let me leave to go respond,” she said.

 

Blevins Fire Department Truck

LIFE-SAVING LESSONS

 

One of Janet’s more memorable experiences as part of Blevins FD actually came from a child who retained a few life-saving tips from a fire-prevention class held at the station. The program is performed annually for school-aged little ones, and during each session, the firefighters instruct kids on how to plan for and execute an evacuation from their home.

“We just try to tell them to set up an escape plan ahead of time, so if you ever are in a hurry, you already know what to do,” she said.

That particular fire-prevention session paid off in a big way.

“We had just held a class that day, and then a two-story house burned that afternoon,” said Janet. “The kids were able to get everyone out using what they had learned earlier in the day. The kids even had their parents set a ladder to the second floor. It was truly a life-saving event. I don’t know if everyone would have gotten out without what they had just learned.”

NOT SLOWING DOWN

 

With two decades already under her belt, Janet, along with Tim, is showing no signs of slowing down any time soon.

“I guess we will stay with the fire department until we can’t really do it any longer,” said Janet. “It’s just been such a part of our family and our lives for so long now.”

And a family affair it is. The desire to be a first responder is not limited to just Janet and Tim. The couple’s son-in-law is also a full-time professional fireman in Conway, Arkansas.

“I guess we’re just all over the place,” said Tim. “We probably wouldn’t have it any other way.”

 

As we enter into a season of gratitude, this podcast episode is focused on our Bank interns! We’re thankful they chose to come and experience all departments at Farmers Bank & Trust.

While they’re here for the 12-week program, their main areas of focus are Retail and Lending. They spend a few days in other areas like Marketing, Human Resources, and Training. At the end, they complete a project to share takeaways with the Executive Management team. However, it’s not the banking experience they say impacted them the most.

Rocio Medina
Kade Schutte 
Chris Lyles

If you’re interested in an internship with Farmers Bank & Trust, be on the lookout for a posting on our website next Spring 2023 for a Summer internship opportunity.

Member FDIC | Equal Housing Lender

#BankingWithHEART

Farmers Bank & Trust is going pink in October to support the many families and friends we have in our communities fighting cancer. Throughout our 32 locations in Arkansas, Texas, and Oklahoma, we are accepting donations for our employees who are currently receiving treatments and have immediate family members impacted by cancer.

Many of our branches are hosting their own giveaways and bake sales to raise money throughout the month of October.

MAGNOLIA, AR

Bake Sale – Friday, October 7th

HOPE, AR

Bake Sale – Friday, October 7th
Giveaway for two custom wreaths and a fall table centerpiece

HASKELL, AR

Assorted Gift Card Giveaway

PARIS, AR

Bake Sale – Friday, October 7th

IDABEL, OK

Fall Gift Baskets Giveaway
4 gift baskets total

DE QUEEN, AR

Backpack Kooler Chair Giveaway

MALVERN, AR/ROCKPORT, AR/MT. IDA, AR/GLENWOOD, AR

Pink Igloo Giveaway
One cooler given away at each location

NASHVILLE, AR

Bake Sale – Friday, October 7th

NEW BOSTON, TX

Bake Sale – Friday, October 14th

TEXARKANA, AR / TEXARKANA TX

Bake Sale – Friday, October 7th

CAMDEN, AR

Walmart Gift Card Giveaway

PRESCOTT, AR

Bake Sale – Friday, October 7th

PARIS, TX

RTIC Cooler Giveaway
Bake Sale – Friday, October 7th

 

All branch locations will be accepting donations. To find a location near you, visit HERE.

Listen to our Right at the Heart Podcast episode featuring Breast Cancer Survivor Kim McDaniel of New Boston, Texas HERE.

Talesha Tatom, Vice President and Senior Retail Loan Officer

Farmers Bank & Trust is proud to announce the return of Talesha Tatom, Vice President and Senior Retail Loan Officer, to the Magnolia Market. Tatom, a 20-year banking veteran, came back to the Farmers Bank family in June.

The longtime lending professional previously served at Farmers Bank & Trust from 1999 to 2018. During that time, she began her career as an executive assistant and moved into lending as a retail loan officer.

Experience

Tatom brings with her a wealth of lending knowledge and experience. She holds a bachelor’s degree in finance from Southern Arkansas University. She has also earned numerous American Banking Association certifications, including graduating from Mortgage Lending School, Credit Analyst School, and Basic Lending School. Tatom’s primary areas of expertise include residential mortgages and auto loans, as well as personal loans and other borrowing programs. Her office is located at the Magnolia Main Branch at 200 E. Main Street, and she can be reached at 870-235-7000.

“It is such a blessing and privilege to do what I do,” she said. “Whether it is someone purchasing their first vehicle or a couple building their dream home, it is an honor to be able to help them achieve that dream. It feels really good to go to work and get to do what you love.”

Community Involvement

Tatom attends and takes part in activities at First Baptist Church in Magnolia. She has also been part of charitable and social organizations such as the Magnolia Junior Charity League, Circle of Friends for Arkansas Children’s Hospital, and the Columbia County Sesquicentennial Committee.

“Having Talesha back in the Farmers Bank family is a great asset for both our customers and our community,” said Monty Harrington, Farmers Bank & Trust Magnolia Market President. “Her knowledge in this market is second-to-none, and we couldn’t be more pleased to see her back in the building again.”

The Farmers Bank & Trust Board of Directors recently announced the addition of Sonja Hubbard as a Director. In addition, Mrs. Hubbard will serve as the Audit committee chair for the Bank. While Farmers Bank is majority female-owned, Sonja will be the first female to serve on the Board of Directors.  

 “Adding Sonja Hubbard to our Farmers Bank & Trust Board of Directors is an enormous win for the Bank,” said Farmers Bank & Trust Chief Executive Officer and Chairman of the Board, Chris Gosnell. “Sonja’s proven leadership and an extensive list of national accomplishments will be tremendously valuable as we look to the future of the Bank.” 

Reared in Ashdown, Arkansas, Sonja Hubbard is a Certified Public Accountant who received her Bachelor of Science in Business Administration from the University of Arkansas in Fayetteville. Sonja Hubbard is currently a Principal for the Yates Group, Inc., which manages retained assets from E-Z Mart Stores, Inc., where she was formerly CEO for 20 years. The family-owned convenience store assets were sold in 2018.   

Sonja was named the 1999 Outstanding CPA in Business & Industry by the Arkansas Society of CPAs, the 2009 Accountant of the Year in Industry/Government by the University of Arkansas and was recognized as a Woman of Influence in the Food Industry by the Griffin Report. She was inducted into CSN’s Convenience Store Hall of Fame in 2010 and, the same year, received the Texarkana Regional Arts & Humanities Hero Award for Leadership. She received the C.E. Palmer Achievement Award and Leadership Texarkana’s Idalee Hawkins Leader of the Year recognition in 2019.  

Sonja has served as a member of the Board of Directors for the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis after serving as a Director and President of the Little Rock Branch of the Bank. From 2009-2010 she served as Chairman of the National Association of Convenience Stores, representing the nation’s 152,000 stores and its members. She was the first woman and legacy, following her father’s footsteps, to serve in this capacity. Sonja is also a director for Opportunities, Inc., CHRISTUS Northeast Texas, Arkansas Research Alliance, Arkansas Children’s Hospital Board and Foundation, UAMS Fund Foundation, University of Arkansas Accounting Advisory Board, AR-TX Regional Economic Development Incorporated, and Riverbend Water District.  

Sonja Hubbard resides in Texarkana, Texas, with her husband, Bob Hubbard, and they have one daughter, Lauren, who lives in New York City.  

“When my parents, Jim and FaEllen Yates, founded E-Z Mart in 1970, they were young, visionary entrepreneurs but not wealthy. They relied on the support of community banks, including Farmers Bank & Trust, to get them started. Farmers financed stores #25 and #26 in Magnolia, Arkansas beginning a relationship that continued for many decades, meeting many more expansion needs. Having lived and seen the value of these relationships, I am excited to now be able to serve and support from the other side of the relationship.” says Hubbard. 

(L) Kelly Chambers (R) Sarah Myers

Farmers Bank & Trust is pleased to announce the banking team in Nashville, Arkansas. The Bank purchased the full-service branch located at 420 S. Main Street from ARVEST in January 2022.

Kelly Chambers

Kelly Chambers, a Nashville native with more than 20 years of banking experience, leads the team in his role as Market President and Commercial Loan Officer. Chambers graduated from Southern Arkansas University and is married to Amy. Together they have three children, Austin, Ashley, and Karson. They are members of First Baptist Church of Nashville. During his free time, Chambers coaches a travel baseball team.

Sarah Myers

Eager to serve farmers and ranchers in her hometown, Sarah Myers joined the Farmers Bank & Trust Nashville team in April as an Agricultural Loan Officer. Myers has 13 years of banking experience and graduated from Southern Arkansas University with a bachelor’s degree in Agriculture Business. She is married to Mark, and they have two daughters, Claire, and Avery. They are members of Cross Point Cowboy Church, and she is a member of the Nashville Rotary Club. While she is not helping her husband with their family cow/calf operation, Myers enjoys roping and barrel racing.

Gayla Hill

Originally from Glenwood, AR, Commercial Loan Officer Gayla Hill graduated from Cossatot Vocational-Technical School, what is now the University of Arkansas Cossatot. She has 30 years of banking experience and said this career is rewarding because she can help customers complete dreams and goals in life. She is married to Jacky and together they have three children and three grandchildren.

In addition to Chambers, Myers, and Hill, the Nashville branch lending team includes Wendi Hubbard, Loan Assistant; and Chantal Thompson, Loan Assistant. The retail team includes Janet Carpenter, Branch Administrator; Tara Green, Branch Manager; Rose Johnson, Universal Supervisor; Anita Mays, Universal Supervisor; Yulonda Wynn, Teller; and Macy McRae, Teller.

Hometown Banking

“We are excited to get back to true hometown banking. We have a great team of experienced bankers who serve our community of Nashville with heart. We invite you to visit our branch and consider us for all your financial needs,” said Chambers.

An open house and ribbon cutting will be scheduled this year. The branch is open Monday through Friday 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. In addition, there is a MyFarmers iTeller Interactive Teller Machine in the parking lot with live teller services available from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. Monday through Friday, and 8 a.m. to 3 p.m. on Saturday, with 24/7 ATM services.

L to R: FBI Little Rock Citizens Academy Alumni Association Board Member Wes Booker, classmate and Senior Writer for Gov. Asa Hutchinson Jay Grelen, Grelen’s wife, Candace Rankin

Congratulations Candace!

Farmers Bank & Trust Community Specialist & Assistant Board Secretary Candace Rankin graduated from the prestigious FBI Citizens Academy program on June 7, 2022.

The FBI Citizens Academy gives business, religious, civic, and community leaders an inside look at the FBI. Candidates are nominated and then selected to participate by the special agent in charge of the local FBI field office.

“I have always had respect for law enforcement, but this experience really opened my eyes to a lot of things I was unaware of. The level of respect I have for them now is even greater,” Rankin said.

“The FBI Citizens Academy is an excellent curriculum to connect the FBI to our local leaders and difference-makers in Arkansas,” Farmers Bank Foundation Executive Director Elizabeth Anderson said. “Candace has been instrumental in the Bank’s relationship with the FBI, by connecting them to the communities we serve.”

In her role, Rankin organizes various Bank and community events including the annual FBI Community Awareness Program luncheons where law enforcement from all departments across the state get together with community leaders for a presentation and brief training.

“Farmers Bank & Trust’s former Chairman & CEO Bob Burns went through this program many years ago and our CEO Chris Gosnell has gone through it as well,” Rankin said. “I’m honored the Bank nominated me for this opportunity and that I was able to attend.”

Once a week for eight weeks Rankin drove from Magnolia, Arkansas to Little Rock for class. Topics covered during the academy include cybersecurity, active shooter training, negotiation, domestic and counterterrorism, weapons of mass destruction, stop the bleed training, and more.

“I believe everyone who works in customer care should learn this information. It’s potentially life-saving,” Rankin said.

For more information about the FBI Citizens Academy, visit HERE.

Candace with classmate Alicia Evans of Arkansas Department of Labor

The Farmers Bank & Trust Board of Directors recently announced the promotion of Jeff Whitener and Brad Moore to Regional Credit Officers.

In this new role, Whitener and Moore will have more responsibility overseeing loan production and credit quality in multiple markets as the Bank continues to grow in Arkansas, Texas, and Oklahoma.

Jeff Whitener

Whitener has 10 years of banking experience and works out of the Magnolia Main Farmers Bank & Trust branch, located at 200 E. Main Street. He currently serves as Senior Commercial Loan Officer. He holds Bachelor of Business Administration (BBA) and Master of Business Administration (MBA) degrees. He will graduate from the Graduate School of Banking at Colorado in July of 2022. Whitener is involved in many local organizations in his community including First Baptist Church, United Way, Columbia County Chamber of Commerce, Golden Triangle, Columbia Christian School Board, Leadership Magnolia, Mulerider Club Board, and the Magnolia Hospital Auxiliary Board. He is married to Kelsey, and they have two kids, Alyssa, and Austin.

“I am humbled and excited for the opportunity,” said Whitener. “I look forward to assisting in growth and development opportunities for our customers and staff across the region.”

Brad Moore

Moore has 25 years of banking experience and is the New Boston, Texas Market President at ourbranch located at 416 N McCoy Boulevard. He holds BBA and MBA degrees from Texas A&M University-Texarkana. He is also involved in his community and serves as President of the Friends of West Bowie County and is the Vice President of the New Boston Noon Lions Club. He is married to Amanda and together they have one son, Phillip.

“My favorite part about working for Farmers is the culture of our Bank and local decision making,” said Moore. “I am honored our executive management team has confidence in me to fulfill this new role.”

“Jeff and Brad’s experience and leadership will help drive the Bank forward for years to come. I thank them for their unwavering commitment to the Bank’s lending team,” said Dave White, Farmers Bank & Trust Chief Lending Officer.

Headshot of Mike Boyd

Mike Boyd will join Farmers Bank & Trust as General Counsel and Executive Vice President effective July 1, 2022. A current member of the Farmers Bank & Trust Board of Directors since March 17, 2015, Boyd will remain on the Board and lead the Bank with various legal needs.

“Adding Mike Boyd to our Farmers Bank & Trust team is a natural fit,” said Farmers Bank & Trust Chief Executive Officer and Chairman of the Board, Chris Gosnell. “Mike’s extensive experience and vibrant community involvement will help the Bank for many years to come.”

Reared in Cleveland County, Arkansas, Mike Boyd graduated in 1994 from the University of Arkansas at Fayetteville with a Bachelor of Arts in broadcast journalism. He earned his Juris Doctorate from the University of Arkansas School of Law at Fayetteville in 1997. Boyd joined Bell & Boyd in Magnolia, Arkansas, in 2008.

Mike is City Attorney for Magnolia, Arkansas; chairman of a panel for the Office of Professional Conduct; President of the Arkansas 4-H Foundation; and a board member of Magnolia Arts. He is a member of the Arkansas and Columbia County Bar Associations and a member and past president of the Arkansas Trial Lawyers Association. Boyd is licensed to practice in Arkansas. He is a past president of the Magnolia Economic Development Corporation, Magnolia Unlimited, and Magnolia-Columbia County Chamber of Commerce.

Mike Boyd resides in Magnolia, Arkansas, and enjoys fishing, kayaking, and officiating high school football. He and his wife, Jamie, have four children and three grandchildren.

“I am excited to join the Farmers Bank & Trust team full-time,” says Boyd, “it has been an honor to serve on the Bank board of directors for several years; I look forward to helping the Bank continue its positive growth pattern.”

Erik Roddy

The Farmers Bank & Trust Board of Directors recently announced the promotion of Erik Roddy to Paris, TX Market President. In this role, Roddy will continue to manage his loan portfolio, but will also provide leadership to assure the short- and long-term profitability of the Bank.

Roddy has 18 years of banking experience and holds a Business Administration degree from Texas A&M-Commerce. He is also a graduate of The University of Oklahoma’s Economic Development Institute. “Erik will do a tremendous job leading the Paris Market,” said Jeff Nutt, Farmers Bank & Trust Regional Market President. “He is a leader by nature and loves his community. We are excited for him and the future of the Paris market.”

Roddy serves on the Paris Economic Development Corporation Board and is the Finance Chairman for the Downtown Food Pantry. He and his wife, Cheryl, are members of His Place Fellowship, and they have three sons, one daughter, and four granddaughters.

Erik with his wife, Cheryl, and sons, Nathan, Evan, and Ryan, at Dollywood’s DreamMore Resort.

“I’m humbled and honored to be entrusted with this role in the Paris market,” said Roddy. “Family and community are at the heart of everything we do. We are only getting started with our commitment to give back to Paris.”

Farmers Bank & Trust entered Paris, TX in early 2021 with a branch located at 1375 NE Loop 286, and a new branch is set to open in 2022.


For all your commercial and small business lending needs, visit HERE.