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HomeBankA present that may carry on giving – Unbiased Banker

A present that may carry on giving – Unbiased Banker


L to R, Arkansas governor Asa Hutchinson, FNB president/CEO Sam T. Sicard and Fort Smith, Ark., mayor George McGill.

L to R, Arkansas governor Asa Hutchinson, FNB president/CEO Sam T. Sicard and Fort Smith, Ark., mayor George McGill.

It could be celebrating its a hundred and fiftieth anniversary, however First Nationwide Financial institution of Fort Smith didn’t need presents this yr. As an alternative, it gifted $500,000 to its native Boys & Ladies Membership for an formidable renovation.

By Paul Sisolak


Simply as a lot part of western Arkansas historical past as its hometown, $1.84 billion-asset The First Nationwide Financial institution of Fort Smith (FNB) was based on Feb. 29, 1872—simply 55 years after the incorporation of Fort Smith, Ark.

However as an alternative of touting its personal accomplishments throughout its a hundred and fiftieth anniversary, FNB turned the highlight onto one other cherished neighborhood establishment: the Fort Smith Boys & Ladies Membership. The clubhouse on the Jeffrey location, a neighborhood gathering place since 1978, was in dire want of enhancements. So, in March, FNB introduced it could donate $500,000 to the intensive renovation effort.

FNB president and CEO Sam T. Sicard says the motivation for the donation was easy.

“We needed to have fun by saying a present [for] our neighborhood to indicate our gratitude [for being able to] serve this neighborhood over 150 years and provides again a few of the earnings we’ve accrued through the years,” he says.

Sicard’s household has an extended historical past in Fort Smith and on the financial institution, having held management positions since 1907. A fifth-generation chief, Sicard succeeded his late father, Samuel M. Sicard, who was FNB’s president for 34 years.

Sicard, who grew to become president and CEO in 2011, says the half-million-dollar present was made attainable due to the shortage of mortgage provisions attributable to PPP forgiveness, minimal past-due loans, the sale of some financial institution belongings, and their loyal clients and devoted bankers. All in all, 2021 was a document yr for earnings.

“A number of issues helped the celebrities align for a document yr,” he says. “We needed to have fun that. We attempt to make a contribution and provides again a portion of our earnings, notably when now we have good years.”

An enduring connection

This isn’t the primary time FNB has supported the Fort Smith Boys & Ladies Membership. In 2019, the neighborhood financial institution was a partial sponsor of the $2.25 million renovation of the group’s Hunts Park Sports activities Facility. In return, the ability was renamed First Nationwide Financial institution Discipline, in line with Jerry Glidewell, Fort Smith Boys & Ladies Membership government director.

“Our relationship with the financial institution goes again a number of years,” he says. “Sam has served on our board of administrators, and he’s our present board president. FNB has been very supportive of nonprofits in our metropolis and completely different neighborhood occasions. They’re very concerned.”

“We expect it’s going to be a terrific studying and schooling heart and provides youngsters primarily from low-income households an opportunity to discover the humanities, science and tech, with a STEM focus, that they won’t have a possibility to do in any other case.”
—Sam T. Sicard, The First Nationwide Financial institution of Fort Smith

Glidewell says that the Boys & Ladies Membership explored the potential for renovating the Jeffrey location just a few years in the past, however the Hunts Park undertaking took priority. Final yr, talks resumed.

“When our marketing campaign for our Jeffrey renovation and growth happened once more, First Nationwide donated the half 1,000,000 {dollars} to get a jumpstart,” Glidewell says.

Proposed renovations to the clubhouse embody expansions to program area and the innovation lab (together with STEM actions and robotics); artwork and music rooms and a dance studio; and new futsal courts with LED lighting to accommodate pickleball and basketball.

“We expect it’s going to be a terrific studying and schooling heart and provides youngsters primarily from low-income households an opportunity to discover the humanities, science and tech, with a STEM focus, that they won’t have a possibility to do in any other case,” says Sicard.

Glidewell estimates that the development will start by the tip of 2022, as soon as the membership reaches its $3 million renovation marketing campaign purpose. To date, FNB and different donors have raised $2.3 million.

Placing neighborhood first

At FNB’s sesquicentennial celebration in March, Sicard and FNB introduced the donation to the Boys & Ladies Membership. The ceremony was attended by Arkansas governor Asa Hutchinson and Fort Smith mayor George McGill.

“It means a lot to us,” Glidewell says. “It’s rewarding, as a nonprofit director, to see native companies give again to the neighborhood. [FNB] actually is an area financial institution.”

In the present day, FNB’s attain extends to a dozen areas spanning the Arkansas River Valley, six in northwest Arkansas and 9 Oklahoma branches, with its headquarters nonetheless within the eight-story white-brick constructing in-built 1910. It’s proof that, just like the Boys & Ladies Membership, Fort Smith’s neighborhood legacy is alive and nicely.

“Being a neighborhood financial institution means neighborhood comes first,” says Sicard. “Finally, the neighborhood decides the place they financial institution. That’s our plan: to proceed to serve this area.”

His perspective is influenced by his father, who was regularly requested within the Nineties when he would promote FNB. “He stated we’ll proceed to be a neighborhood financial institution,” Sicard remembers right now, “so long as the neighborhood desires one.”


Paul Sisolak is deputy editor of Unbiased Banker.



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