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Photo provided by THE SELLS AGENCY
Photo provided by THE SELLS AGENCY

Five Questions: Rodney Shepard

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Arvest Bank moved its newest area president, Rodney Shepard, to Springfield this month from Fort Smith, Ark., where he worked 20 years in banking, and last served as sales manager and executive vice president for the company. Shepard brought a love of blues and volunteering to his new community, and he said he’s excited to meet people and roll up his sleeves as he succeeds Mike Daw. In a time of growth for Arvest – and of looming regulatory change – Shepard takes the helm in Springfield, Nixa and Branson to manage seven locations with two on the way.

Q: Your first official day was Feb. 1. Were you excited to be in Springfield, and what challenges were you expecting in your new role?
A: It’s exciting for me from a career standpoint to get this kind of opportunity. But, also, to go into a community such as Springfield is just awesome. I’ve heard nothing but good things, even before I thought about relocating. And, on a personal note, it’s the home of Bass Pro Shops. I’m definitely excited.

My job in Fort Smith was sales manager and executive vice president. That position leads the sales efforts primarily on the retail section of the bank (working with) the lion’s share of the customers and employees. The difference, for me, is that I’ll have oversight of all of the bank.

Q: What is Arvest’s niche in the community?
A: Our company was built on servant leadership. Community involvement means getting our associates actively involved in community organizations or causes they’re passionate about. I think that is vital. We are somewhat called to do it from a strategic point, but I just think it’s the right thing to do.

In terms of our mortgage lending, we retain the servicing of more than 99 percent of the mortgage loans that we originate.

Q: What community organizations have you been involved with and why?
A: There were two organizations that I was most involved with in Fort Smith. With the Fort Smith Area United Way, not only did I serve on the board for six years, but my last year I was vice chairman of the board. I also worked with the Fort Smith Riverfront Blues Society. I spent six years on that board and had two terms as president.

Q: What regulatory challenges does your industry face in 2011, and what goals do you have in place?
A: Obviously, growth, profitability and customer service are at the top of the list in terms of goals. But the regulatory environment is going to make for a challenging year, not only in 2011, but going forward. With the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau that was crafted out of (the Dodd-Frank Act) and went into effect nearly a year ago, we’re wondering what kinds of things it is going to be focused on, as it has oversight over financial institutions.

Q: What regulatory changes are you preparing for?
A: There is conversation, that as the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau comes online … that if someone has a habit of writing hot checks, there may be a burden placed on financial institutions to counsel with those folks. There also could be a limit to what could be charged. If any version of that were to go into place, there would be additional expenses associated with charging those fees.
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