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Regulatory wrangling.

Have you heard about the insurance tiff involving Little Rock's First Commercial Corp.?

Our sources tell us the disagreement began when First Commercial brought some insurance business in-house that previously had been handled by the Little Rock firm Meadors & Adams Inc.

The firm, in turn, complained to the Independent Insurance Agents of Arkansas Inc. The lobbying and trade group, known as The Big I, then filed a formal complaint with the state Insurance Department.

The complaint centers around First Commercial's ability to operate a full-service insurance company. The holding company acquired the operation when it bought Arkansas Bank & Trust of Hot Springs.

A hearing is scheduled March 17 to determine whether the grandfather provision that enabled ABT to sell insurance was lost when First Commercial bought the bank. State law prohibits lending institutions from owning insurance agencies. Unfair competition is the prime concern.

Eight other Arkansas banks that own full-service insurance agencies were grandfathered in. This list includes Farmers Bank & Trust Co. of Blytheville, American State Bank of Charleston, Bank of England, DeWitt Bank & Trust Co., First National Bank of Cleburne County at Heber Springs, First State Bank of Gurdon, The Peoples Bank at Portland and Pike County Bank at Murfreesboro.

Savers Savings Association also operated a full-service insurance agency. It's unclear what happened to the license after the insolvent Little Rock-based thrift was dismantled and sold off by the feds.

The situation offers some interesting dynamics in diplomacy since Allan Meadors, president of Meadors & Adams, is a director of First Commercial Bank of Little Rock.
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Title Annotation:Whispers; disagreement between First Commercial Corp. and Meadors and Adams Inc. that reached the Independent Insurance Agents of Arkansas Inc. and the state Insurance Department
Publication:Arkansas Business
Article Type:Brief Article
Date:Jan 27, 1992
Words:256
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