A team of former Bear State Bank employees started a Regent Bank loan production office for Tulsa, Oklahoma-based Regent Capital Corp.
Craig Dunn, who most recently served as regional president for Bear State Bank, was hired by Regent to lead the local office as president. After discussing the opportunity with Regent Bank officials, Dunn signed on and said he was given the opportunity to create his own team for the Springfield market – Regent’s first outside of Oklahoma.
Dunn chose Mike McGoldrick, a senior vice president at Bear State, and Nick Burlison and Kim Cash, both vice presidents for Bear State’s local operations. McGoldrick and Burlison were hired as senior vice presidents of commercial lending for Regent Bank, and Cash’s new role is vice president and director of cash management. Former Bear State employees Nancy Deckard and Amy Poe, brought on as loan assistants, round out Regent’s six-person starter team in Springfield.
“That’s a pretty good-size team to take on a new market,” Dunn said. “That will keep us fully staffed for some period of time.”
Regent Bank officially launched in Springfield on Feb. 23, operating out of a temporary office at 3556 S. Culpepper Circle, Ste. 1. By mid-April, Dunn and crew expect to relocate to a 6,000-square-foot former Regions Bank at 3271 E. Battlefield Road, owned by attorney Aaron Sachs.
Regent Bank’s entry into the market – and its recruitment of Bear State Bank employees – comes as Arvest Bank prepares to close on its $391 million purchase of Bear State Financial Inc. (Nasdaq: BSF), the Little Rock, Arkansas-based holding company of Bear State Bank. The deal is expected to close in the first quarter.
Dunn said the transaction represented a chance for Regent to make a splash in the market.
“Anytime an employer announces it’s going to be acquired, that opens up doors of opportunity. That’s exactly what happened in my case,” he said of the recruitment process. “It’s nothing negative against Bear State or Arvest. Those are good banks, but the opportunity came.”
Dunn said Regent Bank officials sought him out to get a foothold in the Springfield market. He said Regent Bank’s culture of autonomy for its offices was key.
“Their belief is to hire great people and let them do their job,” he said. “We know this market and have done very well as a team.”
Dunn said officials plan to convert the loan production office into a full-service branch, but a concrete timeline is not in place.
Purchased by Regent Capital Corp. in 2008, the 120-year-old Regent Bank has $450 million in assets and 90 employees at branches in Tulsa, Oklahoma City and Nowata, Oklahoma.
The bank’s ownership structure comprises 180 regional investors, including Chuck Woolley, principal with The Kingsley Group, a Springfield-based business brokerage firm. Woolley is the only member of the 12-person board of directors who doesn’t live in Oklahoma. Dunn said the investors vote annually on various decisions for the privately held company. He was unaware of any other local investor-owners.
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