Congratulations to Farmers Bank & Trust’s Bob Burns for receiving the 2021 Trooper Ermon Cox Award at the Annual Arkansas State Police Foundation Appreciation Dinner on October 21, 2021.
Burns has served as the Arkansas State Police Foundation President and as the Chairman for the Arkansas State Police Commission. He was CEO of Farmers Bank & Trust for almost 40 years.
Not only has he served the state of Arkansas, but he is also a retired Colonel in the U.S. Army. Burns served with the 4th Infantry Division in Vietnam with awards including Bronze Star, Presidential Citation, Cross of Gallantry, Distinguished Service Medal, a Purple Heart, and many other awards.
“We’re proud of his continued commitment to public service and philanthropic work,” said Elizabeth Anderson, Farmers Bank Foundation Executive Director. “I was humbled and honored to accept this award on his behalf.”
As Farmers Bank & Trust expands into new communities, so does its wide variety of products and services. The Bank is thrilled to welcome Darren Neal, Agricultural Loan Officer, Senior Vice President, to the team.
Born and raised in Jonesboro, AR, Neal grew up working on a rice and soybean farm. After high school, he served four years in the U.S. Army 101st Airborne Division. He is a graduate of Arkansas State University with a degree in Agricultural Business and Economics. While he started out his career as a crop consultant, Neal said he knew all along his dream was to become an Arkansas State Trooper.
“I really believe that was my life’s calling, so that’s what I did,” Neal said. “I took a pay cut and moved across the state to become a trooper.”
Neal moved to Prescott, AR where he and his wife, Kristi, built a home and started a cattle farm. He worked drug interdiction on the interstate for 10 years before becoming a Sergeant. He retired after 21 years with Troop G serving Southwest Arkansas.
“I had a good career,” Neal said. “But you sacrifice a lot. I really missed out on a lot with my kids.”
Neal’s daughter, Emilee, works as a Loan Assistant at the Farmers Bank & Trust Bryant branch. His son, Carter, currently attends Southern Arkansas University in Magnolia, AR. After retiring with the state, Neal built a four-house pullet farm totaling 100,000 square feet. This operation is no small task, his wife takes on the day-to-day operations and his kids often visit home on the weekends to help.
“It’s seven days a week,” he said. “We’ve got 15,000 chicks just in one house. I can understand my customers because I speak their language. I have been in their shoes. I know there are other options, but we want to set ourselves apart. We want people to do business with us because we’re going to treat them right.”
This opportunity with the Bank is one that Neal believes was divine intervention.
“I believe Farmers Bank & Trust’s core values align with mine,” he said. “They are genuinely in the communities to serve. I’m excited to be able to offer this additional service to our customers.”
Neal’s office is located at the Farmers Bank & Trust Hope Downtown branch at 201 East Third Street in Hope, AR, but he is available to help serve all communities Bank-wide.
“We are extremely pleased and excited to have Darren Neal on the Farmers Bank & Trust team!” Hope Market President Jacob Jones said. “The poultry business has deep roots in Southwest Arkansas, and we are excited to have the ability to offer poultry house financing to our customers. Darren brings a level of experience and unique background that makes him an excellent fit for the Bank.”
To contact a loan officer, visit HERE, and find a location near you HERE.
The Farmers Bank & Trust Board of Directors recently announced the promotion of Jada Bullock to Financial Services Trainer.
A graduate of Arkansas High School in 2015, Jada graduated with a bachelor’s degree in Human Resource Workplace Development in 2020 from the University of Arkansas-Fayetteville.
“While in college, I learned a lot of information regarding how to communicate with employees to determine how to develop and help them grow in the workplace,” said Bullock. “Obtaining my degree helped me realize I wanted to continue to grow at Farmers. The opportunity to transition into the Learning and Development department really sparked my interest.”
Bullock started working at Farmers Bank & Trust while still in school in 2018 as a teller at the Arkansas Boulevard location in Texarkana. She helped train new employees when the Bank opened its new location in Prosper, Texas in 2019.
“I am so happy to see Jada grow with us at Farmers Bank & Trust,” said James Bramlett, Texarkana Market President. “From her going to college, working to take care of our customers every day, and then completing her degree, this promotion is great for her and the Bank. She is an essential part of Farmers Bank & Trust and the Texarkana team.”
Jada is the middle child of three and is involved in the community by regularly attending ribbon cuttings and groundbreakings for new businesses. She also enjoys Texarkana Chamber of Commerce events and participates in Business After Hours.
“I am thrilled that Jada has joined the Learning & Development department,” said Alissa Flanagan, Supervisor of Learning & Development. “Jada brings a unique and exciting perspective to the L&D team due to her experience as a retail banker and teller mentor. With her experience, education, and eagerness to learn, I know that Jada will do great things and I am so excited to watch her grow!”
As President and CEO, Chris Gosnell focuses on cultivating a HEART culture at Farmers Bank & Trust. In this episode, we talk about:
How he began his career in banking
What it’s like leading a 115-year-old legacy Bank
Why he adopted the HEART core values and what they mean to him
Why he seeks non-traditional bankers for employment
Goals he has for the future of Farmers Bank & Trust
For more on the history of Farmers Bank & Trust, visit HERE.
Farmers Bank and Trust Company was chartered on September 26, 1906, in Magnolia, Arkansas. The oldest existing general ledgers indicate that the bank began with approximately $75,000 in assets. The primary business of the bank at the time was deposit services. Today, the bank has assets that exceed $1.9 billion and offers a wide variety of products and services to serve the needs of the communities it serves.
The Farmers Bank & Trust Board of Directors recently announced the promotion of Andi Whitman to Assistant Vice President, Branch Manager III, and Sharquel Juniel to Retail Banker.
Whitman works at the Malvern Main Farmers Bank & Trust location, located at 521 E. Page Avenue. She joined the Farmers team in 2011 as a part-time teller and has worked in various roles including retail banker and branch supervisor.
She graduated from Malvern High School and National Park College in Hot Springs, AR. Whitman and her husband, Mitchell, have one daughter, Landyn. She is involved in the community by serving on the Malvern Chamber of Commerce Board of Directors and serves as the President of the Malvern Rotary Club.
Whitman recently graduated from the Arkansas Bankers Association Consumer Lending School and has expanded the products she is able to help with, including servicing consumer loan customers.
Juniel works out of the Malvern Main Farmers Bank & Trust location, located at 521 E. Page Avenue in Malvern. She joined the Farmers team in 2019 as a part-time teller. In her new role, she will have more diverse responsibilities, including opening accounts to fit customer’s needs.
She graduated from Arkadelphia High School and currently attends Arkansas State University Three Rivers in Malvern where she is working toward an associate degree in Office Administration. She is the third oldest of seven siblings and loves getting to be involved with the community, including high school football tailgates with the Bank.
“Andi has been a very integral part of our bank for many years. Her leadership has helped contribute to our success!” said Malvern Market President Scott White. “Sharquel is also a pleasure to work with. She is always willing to go the extra mile for the bank’s customers and her co-workers!”
Farmers Bank & Trust Blevins Branch Supervisor Elaine Stone will retire with 28 years of service on August 20, 2021. Stone began her career in 1993 as a teller in the drive-thru. Since then, she has worked in various roles, from bookkeeping to the loan department.
“It has been a good experience working for Farmers Bank & Trust,” Stone said. “During retirement, I look forward to a little vacation camping at the lake first, and then I’ll be getting on a tractor!”
Stone said her family has chicken houses and cows, so while she is retiring from banking, she will be going on to a “different job.”
Farmers Bank & Trust Hope Market President Jacob Jones said, “We congratulate Elaine on her well-earned retirement. Her 28 years of service to the Bank is quite an accomplishment, and we’re proud for her.”
Stone said her one piece of advice for young professionals is to “live life as you go.”
Elaine’s retirement celebration will be held at the Blevins Branch from 10 a.m. to 12 p.m., located at 5461 Highway 371 in Blevins, AR.
According to the latest data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics, salaried employees are with their employer an average of 4 years. At Farmers Bank & Trust, we’re celebrating an employee who has been with the Bank for 40 years! Denise Rogers is the Banking Research Officer and takes great pride in her unique role.
“I’ve never wanted to work anywhere else,” Rogers said. “There is nothing that I do every day that is too routine and gets boring.”
Denise helps the Bank customers and employees by researching extraordinary problems with almost any type of account.
“We have a number of customers who ask for Denise by name to assist with their issues,” Farmers Bank & Trust Chief Operations Officer Joe Pieratt said.
August 7, 1981
From her very first day at work with the Bank on August 7, 1981, Denise has worked in customer service. She graduated from Southern Arkansas University with a degree in Business Administration and a minor in Library Science.
“I started upstairs with a film machine,” Rogers explained. “When someone needed a copy of something that we didn’t have in the big filing cabinet, I would find it on the films, and I would mark it with a piece of tape and send it off to Little Rock to get a copy. Eventually, we got a machine that would make copies, and my library science background made it possible for me to use that equipment.”
As time went on, former CEO and current Chairman of the Board Bob Burns promoted Denise to Research Analyst in the late eighties. She developed the skills to analyze detailed reports and could explain why something happened on an account the day prior.
“I’ve always treated situations with customers the way I would want to be treated,” Rogers said. “I try to show people how to do things rather than just tell them.”
Denise is not only a tremendous help to the customers but her co-workers too.
“She is truly our ‘go-to’ person on a laundry list of topics,” Farmers Bank & Trust Customer Contact Center Vice President Judi Franks said. “She’s a fantastic resource for our department as well as other departments in the Bank. I often hear people say, ‘Let’s check with Denise to see what she knows about this.’”
The Bank’s HEART core values stand for Honor, Excellence, Adaptability, Respect, and Teamwork. Denise is a true representation of these and has been long before they were ever created. She has had to adapt to change over the years but said she is thankful to Farmers Bank & Trust for sticking with her.
“My longest relationship is with the Bank,” she said. “I worked here for 10 years before I met my husband, who was actually a customer. A co-worker at the time introduced us and we got married in 1991.”
She shared she will be 67 years old on August 24th, and fully intends to continue her work until she’s at least 70.
“This is definitely not a retirement,” she laughed. “We’re celebrating I’m still here!”
Farmers Bank & Trust will celebrate Denise with a private reception as a precaution to COVID-19.