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HomeBankA present that may carry on giving – Impartial Banker

A present that may carry on giving – Impartial 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 might be celebrating its one hundred and fiftieth anniversary, however First Nationwide Financial institution of Fort Smith didn’t need presents this 12 months. As an alternative, it gifted $500,000 to its native Boys & Ladies Membership for an bold 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 a substitute of touting its personal accomplishments throughout its one 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 in depth renovation effort.

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

“We wished to rejoice 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 number of the income we’ve collected over time,” 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 turned president and CEO in 2011, says the half-million-dollar present was made doable due to the shortage of mortgage provisions as a consequence of PPP forgiveness, minimal past-due loans, the sale of some financial institution property, and their loyal clients and devoted bankers. All in all, 2021 was a file 12 months for income.

“A number of issues helped the celebrities align for a file 12 months,” he says. “We wished to rejoice that. We attempt to make a contribution and provides again a portion of our income, significantly when we’ve 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 Area, in response to Jerry Glidewell, Fort Smith Boys & Ladies Membership govt 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 totally different neighborhood occasions. They’re very concerned.”

“We predict it’s going to be an important studying and training heart and provides children primarily from low-income households an opportunity to discover the humanities, science and tech, with a STEM focus, that they won’t have a chance 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 of renovating the Jeffrey location a couple of years in the past, however the Hunts Park undertaking took priority. Final 12 months, talks resumed.

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

Proposed renovations to the clubhouse embody expansions to program house 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 predict it’s going to be an important studying and training heart and provides children primarily from low-income households an opportunity to discover the humanities, science and tech, with a STEM focus, that they won’t have a chance 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 objective. Up to now, 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 properly.

“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 often requested within the Nineteen Nineties when he would promote FNB. “He mentioned we’ll proceed to be a neighborhood financial institution,” Sicard remembers as we speak, “so long as the neighborhood desires one.”


Paul Sisolak is deputy editor of Impartial Banker.



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