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2020 Trusted Advisers Banker: Steve Kelly

Arvest Bank

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When Steve Kelly gains a new client, his first step is to research the business’ industry to understand the history, opportunities and threats his client may face.

That dedication to the details has paid off. Kelly says he’s helped a transportation company expand its flatbed truck fleet to a wider region, assisted small-business owners to find key personnel to round out management teams and, during the COVID-19 pandemic, explained the federal Paycheck Protection Program to numerous concerned business owners.

“A trusted adviser is a professional who focuses 100% attention on learning our clients’ business, understanding our clients’ current and future goals and listening for ways to best serve and add value to our clients’ business,” he says. “A trusted adviser delivers value that meets the needs of the client not only where they are, but where they are going.”

Kelly has been in the banking industry for just over a decade. After graduating from Missouri State University with a bachelor’s degree in finance, he worked with Equity Bank and then Sunflower Bank in Kansas City. Before moving back to Springfield, he served as a senior vice president and portfolio management director for Sunflower Bank, leading a team of 23 portfolio managers with a $2.5 billion commercial and agricultural loan portfolio.

In late 2018, he joined the team at Arvest Bank as a senior vice president and commercial loan manager where he oversees a team of commercial bankers.

Kelly says his career has been marked by “relentless service.” That means showing up for a client wherever and whenever they need him.

Earlier this year, that meant meeting a client early on a Saturday morning at a baseball field to get his signature on a loan document. With another client, Kelly says he called them over FaceTime when an in-person meeting wasn’t possible. And for a business owner who had a large construction project in Texas, he flew down to meet the foreman and visit the site.

“This helped me have context and build further rapport with my borrower when construction draws began,” he says.

But Kelly doesn’t only use his expertise in the office. He’s also committed to supporting his community. He serves as treasurer of the Springfield Littler Theatre Board of Directors, and also serves on Community Foundation of the Ozarks’ Mission-Related Investment committee.

CFO President Brian Fogle says he met Kelly through a mutual friend and invited him to join the committee, which reviews lending and grant requests.

“I was struck immediately by his interest in community development, and the important role banks play in that arena,” Fogle says. “His expertise in lending and commitment to community have been invaluable as we have considered some very important investments in the region the past six months.

“Steve has made a direct impact in the local banking industry and community in his relatively short time in Springfield. I look forward to seeing how his footprint continues to grow here.”

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