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From left: Penny Lacy, EVP and sales manager; Shane Cowger, EVP and loan manager; and Jason England, president/CEO
Rebecca Green | SBJ
From left: Penny Lacy, EVP and sales manager; Shane Cowger, EVP and loan manager; and Jason England, president/CEO

2024 Dynamic Dozen No. 10: Arvest Bank

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SBJ: What has been key to your recent growth?
Jason England: First thing is taking great care of your customers, and that starts by having the right people, the right team. We’ve put together a team and continue to add just the right people that share the same kind of core values with customer service. I use the word aggressive customer service. Sometimes people shy away from the word aggressive. It’s just being on the forefront of taking good care of customers. Customers like it and they come back, and they tell other people about it.

SBJ: Is your fast growth sustainable?
England: Fast growth is sustainable. I would say for us there’s probably a little difference than other small businesses. For other small businesses, they’re focused on sometimes working capital. Some companies can grow too fast because they strip out working capital. They don’t have the economic means to sustain that growth, whereas a bank offsets deposits and loans. As long as you’re growing in both categories, that offset doesn’t necessarily hamper growth.

SBJ: What are growth plans for the company locally over the next couple of years?
England: Our goal is to continue to do what we’re doing, continue to align ourselves with the right people – that’s the customers and associates – taking great care of the customer by growing wallet share, so we get more of their business. People may use five different banks. So, we work on wallet share to move that business over as well as expanding the existing base of customers. The focus for us is growing the market, the services that we offer to the market and continuing to align ourselves with the right culture fit of customers and associates.

SBJ: How do you assure your company stands out amid a crowded banking marketplace?
England: It’s painted on our wall. It’s “Committed to the Community.” It’s kind of expected that you take part in the community we serve, and so it’s us being visible at chamber events but also being at the not-for-profit event, packing backpacks for Ozarks Food Harvest or back-to-school backpacks with Care to Learn – we call them Blue Badge events. We wear our blue badge when we volunteer in the community, so we stand out. There’s not an immediate return on a lot of those things. There’s an intrinsic reward for doing good, but I think if you do the right thing for the community, and I hear it periodically, “Man, I see you guys everywhere,” then I know it’s working.

SBJ: What is the worst business advice you’ve received?
England: Somebody who was actually a mentor of mine in college tried to talk me out of getting in banking. He told me that it wasn’t fun, that I needed to look for something else. I thoroughly enjoy banking. From helping customers, I’ve put businesses in place or buildings, helping people buy houses to growing a team. So, the worst business advice I ever got was not to do what I love doing and get out of banking. It was a different bank, it wasn’t Arvest. And I’m glad he told me because it was in an interview process, and I took my resume and went to Arvest and interviewed there and got on board. So not only was it bad advice, I’m glad he gave it to me because I didn’t go to work for him.

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