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Simmons First National Corporation is the largest publicly traded financial holding headquartered in Arkansas. As of 2007, it has paid dividends for ninety-nine consecutive years, employs more than 1,000 people, and has total assets over $2.7 billion. The company’s eight banks conduct financial operations from eighty-six offices in forty-eight communities.
Founded by Dr. John Franklin Simmons, Simmons National Bank opened its doors for business at the corner of Main and Barraque streets in Pine Bluff (Jefferson County) on March 23, 1903, with four employees. First day deposits totaled $3,338.22. Simmons opened its trust department on June 5, 1922, and was one of the first Arkansas banks to reopen, without restrictions, after the federally imposed “bank holiday” in 1933, during the Great Depression. In 1937, the bank opened its personal loan department. The word “First” was added to the bank’s name in 1960, making it Simmons First National Bank. In 1967, Simmons First opened its investment department and became the first bank in Arkansas to offer customers the Bank America Card (now VISA). Banking history was made on March 23, 1984, when a Simmons First VISA customer withdrew $285 from an automated teller machine (ATM) in Sydney, Australia, in the world’s first intercontinental transaction made via an ATM.
Simmons First received the 2006 Outstanding Philanthropic Corporation Award, in the large business category, presented by the Arkansas Community Foundation. The award is presented to a company that has demonstrated outstanding commitment through financial and other types of support, and/or through encouragement and motivation of others to take leadership roles through philanthropy and community involvement.
In 2010, Simmons First acquired the assets of Southwest Community Bank of Springfield, Missouri, and Security Savings Bank FSB of Olathe, Kansas, from the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC). In 2012, it acquired the assets of Truman Bank of St. Louis, Missouri, and Excel Bank of Sedalia, Missouri, from the FDIC. In November 2013, it bought Metropolitan National Bank of Little Rock (Pulaski County); the bank shortly thereafter announced the closure of twenty-seven of its eighty-eight Arkansas branches.
For additional information:Simmons First National Bank. http://www.simmonsfirst.com/ (accessed April 25, 2007).
Wallis, Dave. “Simmons Centennial.” Jefferson County Historical Quarterly 31 (June 2003): 4–13.
Lawrence FikesSimmons First National Bank
Last Updated 1/15/2014
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