Leader Blues

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

TOP STORY >> An old bank gets a new name

Leader staff writer

Community Bank is changing its name this week. The familiar red, white and blue diamond-shaped logo of the bank will stay the same, but the name in the center is now “Centennial.”

“It is simply a name change for convenience for customers and shareholders – no ownership change,” said Tracy French, who has served as chief executive officer and president of Community Bank’s 11 locations, which are in Beebe, Cabot, Jacksonville and Ward.

With the change, French is now regional president over those locations as well as banks owned by the same holding company, located in Heber Springs, Mountain View and Searcy.

Community Bank is part of a banking network owned by HomeBancShares. Its other holdings include the former First State Bank of Conway, Centennial Bank of central and south Arkansas, the Bank of Mountain View, Twin City Bank of North Little Rock, and the Marine Bank of Florida. The conversion, which will put all six banks under one name, started last fall and will be completed in a couple of months.

The change will help customers “know that when they go to any of the 64 locations, they will be treated the same,” French said.

That has always been true, but the different names have created confusion for some, he said. “On vacation to the Florida Keys, they can bank there, just like you’re in Cabot,” he said.

The change will also mean greater efficiency for the Home-BancShares system. With six names, “there were so many things we had to do in sixes,” such as banking audits, French said.

Opening in 1903, Community Bank is one Arkansas’ oldest financial institutions. In December 2003, it was acquired by HomeBancShares, which has over $2.6 billion in assets. Its services include personal and business checking accounts, insurance, home lending, investments and title work.

The bank prides itself on its strong partnerships with the schools and communities where it is located.