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By leaps and bounds: Simmons First National Corp. restructuring to facilitate further growth.

Simmons First National Corp. of Pine Bluff is growing by leaps and bounds.

The 90-year-old financial institution recently announced first-quarter earnings of $1.5 million. That's a 69.5 percent increase over the same period for 1991.

Simmons First National Bank of Pine Bluff is the flagship bank of the $680 million corporation. Simmons also has operations at Fort Smith, Springdale, Rogers, Bella Vista, Little Rock, Fayetteville, Lake Village and Jonesboro.

The rapid growth has sparked plans for further expansion, according to Simmons officials.

They say major reorganization is under way. It's the first step toward accelerated expansion.

"This reorganization will enable us to better utilize the talents we have among our executive staff," Simmons President Thomas May says. "We're positioning ourselves today to best manage the growth we've achieved, but in anticipation of continued growth in the years to come."

The reorganization includes:

* the creation of a new retail banking division.

* the restructuring of the commercial banking and operations divisions.

* the addition of a new senior executive vice president to oversee these divisions and three other new corporate positions.

Important Emphasis

Retail banking has become an important emphasis for Simmons, May says.

Not only is Simmons the state's largest underwriter of student loans, but the institution also runs Arkansas' largest credit card operation.

Much of Simmons' growth can be attributed to retail banking. The new retail division will consolidate services, including bank cards, real estate loans, installment loans and student loans and all branch activities.

Appointed to oversee the retail division and the commercial banking and operations divisions is H. Glenn Rambin.

Rambin, president and CEO of Exchange Bank and Trust Co. of El Dorado, will occupy the newly created position of senior executive vice president.

Craig Hunt, who has been in charge of the agri-business and correspondent bank divisions of the Pine Bluff bank, will head the new retail banking division.

The three corporate positions have been filled by existing Simmons employees: Barry L. Crow, James Powell and Robert E. Carpenter.

"We are one of the larger financial institutions in the state, but we do not look to growth for growth's sake," May says. "We are an Arkansas bank and that's where our emphasis will stay."
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Author:Harper, Kim
Publication:Arkansas Business
Date:Jun 15, 1992
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