It’s the most wonderful time of the year, and Santa is coming to Farmers Bank & Trust! Mark your calendars to bring the family for hot cocoa, cookies, and a merry good time!

Texarkana, TX

38th Annual Main Street Christmas Parade
Monday, December 5 | 7 p.m.
This year’s parade route has changed! Click HERE for the new route.

Pictures with Santa
2900 Saint Michael Dr.
Friday, December 9 | 3 – 5 p.m.

Paris, TX

Pictures with Santa
1375 NE Loop 286
Wednesday, December 21 | 1 – 4 p.m.

Camden, AR

Pictures with Santa
116 Jefferson Dr. SW
Tuesday, December 20 | 10 a.m. – 2 p.m.

Hope, AR

Hope-Hempstead County Chamber Christmas Coffee
Wednesday, December 14 | 9:30 – 11 a.m.
201 East Third St.

Pictures with Santa
Tuesday, December 20 | 3 – 4:30 p.m.

Community Christmas Parade
*Farmers Bank & Trust is the Parade Presenting Sponsor!
Monday, December 5 | 6 p.m.
For more details, click HERE.

Prescott, AR

Prescott-Nevada County Chamber Christmas Coffee
Tuesday, December 13 | 9:30 – 11 a.m.
103 E 2nd St South

Prescott-Nevada County Christmas Parade – A Cowboy Christmas
Thursday, December 8 | Begins at 6 p.m.
215 East 2nd St. South
Click HERE for more details.

Magnolia, AR

Magnolia’s Christmas Parade – Magic of the Movies
Thursday, December 1 | 5 p.m.
Parade Route: Jackson Street
Click HERE for more details.

Bryant, AR

Pictures with Santa
Friday, December 23 | 11 a.m. – 2 p.m.
3345 AR-5 N Suite 100

Saline County Christmas Parade
Monday, December 5 | 6-7 p.m.
Downtown Benton

Mt. Ida, AR

Pictures with Santa
Friday, December 16 | 2:30 – 4:30 p.m.
221 George St.

Glenwood, AR

Pictures with Santa
Friday, December 9 | 2:30 – 4:30 p.m.
214 N 1st Street

To find a branch near you, visit HERE.

Four local NCAA athletes have signed Name, Image, Likeness (NIL) deals with Farmers Bank & Trust (FBT). Derrian Ford, Landon Jackson, Carlee Ratcliff, and Frankie Price (in alphabetical order) will be partnering with the bank for the upcoming year.

Chris Gosnell, FBT’s chief executive officer, is excited by this new opportunity to support education locally. “These first four student partners will be the beginning of deepening our relationships with our Farmers communities through NIL support,” Gosnell said. “We can’t wait to see our Farmers student-athletes continue to excel.”

Derrian Ford

Ford graduated from Magnolia High School and will be playing as a freshman for the University of Arkansas (UA) men’s basketball team. In his high school career, Ford was named the state final Most Valuable Player three times. This March, Ford led in scoring at Magnolia’s state championship final against Blytheville, capping off the team’s undefeated season.

Landon Jackson

Sophomore Jackson joined UA’s football team on the defensive line after transferring from Louisiana State University last year. He graduated from Pleasant Grove High School in Texarkana, Texas. There he helped win two state football championships. As a junior in high school, Texas Sports Writers Association named him 2019’s 4A Defensive Player of the Year.

Carlee Ratcliff

Ratcliff of New Boston, Texas is entering her sophomore year playing for the University of Texas (UT) softball team. During her freshman year, she played 16 games as a pinch hitter/runner, third baseman, or outfielder. She is part of the first team in UT’s program history to reach the championship series of the Women’s College World Series.

Frankie Price

Rising sophomore Price hails from Coppell, Texas, and is a member of the UA gymnastics team. She trained with the renowned team Texas Dreams Gymnastics and competed in national competitions. She qualified for the Junior Olympic Nationals in 2018 and the Nastia Liukin Cup in 2019.

“We look forward to cheering on Derrian, Landon, Carlee, and Frankie in their upcoming seasons,” said Gosnell.

Mortgage is not the career path Madison Haltom had ever envisioned for herself. But, now she feels like she’s living her dream helping people into their dream homes. Madison works in one of Zillow’s most popular housing markets of 2022 – Prosper, Texas.

In this Right at the Heart Podcast episode, Madison talks about:

  • How she got started in mortgage
  • What you need to know to own your dream home
  • Advice for first-time homebuyers
  • Jumbo loans and the benefits for those who qualify for one
  • Investment properties

Tired of renting and want to move towards buying? Then it’s time to start chipping away at what you’ll need for a down payment. Not sure how to get started? Here are a few places to start!

  • Lace up and hit the streets instead of the gym: Save $60 per month
  • Slash your 4-5 days a week Starbucks runs down to just 1x per week: Save $120 per month
  • Buy store brand groceries: Save 25% on your monthly grocery budget
  • Plan out meals each week instead of picking up takeout: Save $150 per month
  • Trim that clothing budget (just a little!): Save $100 per month

These ideas alone could save you almost $500 every month. In two years’ time, that’s $12,000! And when you keep the goal before you — owning your very own home — it’s even easier to stay motivated!

If you have questions about financing, contact Madison HERE.

NMLS# 2064263

Member FDIC | Equal Housing Lender


Farmers Bank & Trust Prosper Market President Ray Smith

For more than 20 years, Farmers Bank & Trust Prosper Market President Ray Smith has been cooking his signature black-eyed peas on New Year’s Day.

“In college, my roommate and I would cook all the time,” Smith said. “We would make beans and eat on them for a week or two. We would grill chicken or steak. I’ve just always loved cooking and hosting.”

Smith said he wakes up around 4 a.m. on New Year’s Day to begin cooking black-eyed peas for his community. He invites Bank customers, council members, town staff members, local police and fire chiefs, and neighborhood residents to stop by his home to celebrate the new year and take part in the southern tradition.

According to Southern Living, there’s evidence people ate black-eyed peas for luck as early as 500 A.D. While some do partake in the peas for the superstitions, Smith said to him it’s all for fun and bringing people together.

“This year we’re going to have to make it a drive-by event due to all the sickness going around,” he said. “I am disciplined on eating healthy, so I don’t eat many of my peas, but everyone tells me they’re really tasty!”

Smith said he adds or takes away an ingredient each year because he enjoys experimenting with food, but this year he will make his black-eyed peas as follows:

Ray Smith’s New Year’s Black-Eyed Peas

  • Place the following in a pot of water and bring to a boil:
    3-4 lbs. of black-eyed peas
    Leftover ham hock
    Salt pork
    7-8 Bay leaves
    Seasoned pepper
  • After the water boils, remove from heat and let sit for 1 hour
  • Put the pot back on medium heat, and let it boil while continuing to stir
  • Approximately 1 hour before peas are ready, slice 1/4 of an onion and place in the mixture
  • Cut up sausage and brown on both sides and place in the mixture and continue cooking
  • Some people prefer their peas to be soupy, and some like a thicker texture; when peas have reached the desired consistency, and peas are tender, remove from heat and serve with cornbread

Once you’ve tried out Ray’s New Year’s Black-Eyed Peas, visit him at the Farmers Bank & Trust Prosper, Texas branch located at 750 N. Preston Road. You can also find a Bank location near you HERE.

It’s the most wonderful time of the year, and Santa is coming to Farmers Bank & Trust! Mark your calendars to bring the family for a merry good time!

Texarkana, TX

23rd Annual Bramlett Beans & Cornbread Community Fundraiser
Thursday, December 2 | 11 a.m. – 1 p.m.
Texarkana Texas Convention Center – 2910 S. Cowhorn Creek Loop
All proceeds benefit the Christmas Basket program
Click HERE for more details

37th Annual Main Street Christmas Parade
Monday, December 6 | 7 p.m.
This year’s parade route has changed! Click HERE for the new route.

Pictures with Santa
2900 Saint Michael Dr.
Friday, December 10 | 3 – 5 p.m.

New Boston, TX

Farmers Bank Free Entry Night – The Grinch
Thursday, December 23 | 6 p.m.
New Boston Cinema
142 N. Elm St.
*Up to 150 people

Paris, TX

Pictures with Santa
1375 NE Loop 286
Wednesday, December 22 | 2 – 5 p.m.
*Special goodie bag given to first 30 kids!

Prosper, TX

Pictures with Santa
750 N. Preston Rd.
Friday, December 10 | 2 – 4:30 p.m.

Camden, AR

Pictures with Santa
116 Jefferson Dr. SW
Monday, December 20 | 10 a.m. – 2 p.m.

Hope, AR

201 East Third St.
Chamber Coffee
Wednesday, December 8 | 9:30 – 11 a.m.
Pictures with Santa
Tuesday, December 14 | 3 – 4:30 p.m.
Community Christmas Parade
*Farmers Bank & Trust is the Parade Presenting Sponsor!
Monday, December 6 | 6 p.m.
For more details and parade entry form, click HERE

Prescott, AR

Nevada County Christmas Parade
Thursday, December 9 | Begins at 6 p.m.
215 East 2nd St. South
Click HERE for more details

Magnolia, AR

Magnolia’s Christmas Parade 
Thursday, December 2 | 5 p.m.
Parade Route: Jackson Street
Farmers Bank & Trust is sponsoring the $250 Christ in Christmas Award
Click HERE for more details

To find a branch near you, visit HERE.

I didn’t know this years ago, but for me, my late 20s are shaping up to be an extremely exciting time of life. Just in the past year, I started school again and am an MBA candidate. I got engaged. Now, we bought a house! It’s a lot of really expensive, really big decisions, and a ton of organization and planning all at once. Doing all of this at the same time is probably nuts, but for me, it’s just the right time for all of it, however, there are some challenges with buying a home and being an MBA student.

Some people in my class already have homes and families, some are still single, and some are in the same stage as I am. We’re in grad school but not wanting to put our whole lives on hold while that happens. That is the whole reason I chose the Professional MBA program in the first place. This post is for those in the last group.

Finding a mortgage lender is hard. Actually, that’s false, do a google search and thousands of results show up. But finding a good mortgage lender is the hard part. Lenders have to pull your credit, examine your payment and work history, look at your cash and assets to find out how much they can lend you, and make sure you can pay on the mortgage. If you have school loans it shouldn’t be a huge issue, but definitely speak with your realtor and lender ahead of time to make sure buying a home is feasible at this time.

When buying a house, the mortgage lender takes all debt into account. So opening new school loans right before starting our house hunt made me nervous, but once again, I’m impatient and didn’t want to wait. Still, make sure to speak with your mortgage lender about your plans. They’ll be able to advise on the best route forward. The trickiest period will be right before closing. Sometimes it is out of your control, but if at all possible, try not to make large tuition payments out of the accounts your lenders are counting towards your close. It’s also super important to not open any new credit lines during this time, and I imagine new loans should be avoided if possible as well. Each situation will be different, so speak with your Farmers lender to be certain.

Apply For a Mortgage Online with Farmers Bank & Trust

Kasey pictured with Ray Smith, Farmers Bank & Trust Prosper Market President, and Madison Haltom, Mortgage Loan Originator NMLS# 2064263

I had the pleasure of visiting one of the Farmers Bank & Trust branches in Prosper, TX. I grabbed some free Starbucks coffee and sat down to speak with Madison, the Mortgage Loan Originator on-site, and Ray the Prosper Market President. They walked me through the lending process and shared some helpful information for you when applying for your mortgage online.


I highly recommend speaking with someone either in person or on the phone before sending all of your information through an online system. Farmers Bank is 100% reputable, but you still want to know who you’re dealing with. We shopped around to 3-4 lenders before choosing and some had different interest rates, some had different fees, and some we just didn’t like the vibe we got from them. You’ll be giving these people a ton of personal and financial information, so you need to feel comfortable with the people handling your details.


You could have made best friends with your lender, but if they aren’t available when you need them, they aren’t a good lender for you. Especially in this Seller’s market, you’ll need information, pre-approval letters, and so much more from your lenders that you need them to answer your call. They could be the difference between making or missing an offer deadline. Farmers Mortgage Lenders aren’t sitting in a corporate office and checking out at 5 pm. They are local to each branch and ready to take your call at a moment’s notice. Madison even told me she gave out her cell number to her clients so they could reach her at literally any time of day!


Farmers Bank has the benefit of being tied to the bank. So, if you need help raising your credit score or building credit from the ground up, you can sign up for their Foundation Credit Card. It starts with a low limit so you can get used to using it and paying it off. Your limit grows as your credit builds. This can prepare you for buying a home in the future.


You’ll need a solid down payment. Your exact down payment will be dependent on the type of loan you go with, but it will typically be somewhere between 3-5% minimum. For example 5% of 300,000 is $15,000. In addition to your down payment, you’ll need cash for earnest money, closing costs, and so much more. You need a good cushion to buy a home and make it through closing, but a good lender will walk you through everything and always be available to answer your questions.

This part is difficult when also paying for school. Your savings can mess with your FAFSA, and you have to make sure your loan officer knows everything so that it doesn’t mess with your mortgage. Both can absolutely be done, but you have to be transparent on all ends and plan extra carefully.

Visit the Running in Heels blog HERE.

For mortgage resources and to start your application, visit HERE.