Feb 7, 2022 - Business

Signature Bank to expand, carve Latino niche

A photo of Signature Bank of Arkansas

Main office of Signature Bank of Arkansas in Fayetteville. Photo: Worth Sparkman/Axios

Signature Bank of Arkansas plans to open a location in east Rogers dedicated to Spanish-speaking patrons.

  • The location's logo, signage and documents will feature Spanish as the primary language and staff will be fluent in Spanish, CEO and President Gary Head told Axios.

Driving the news: The Fayetteville-based bank is looking for a location now and plans to open it in the coming months.

The big picture: The Hispanic population growth rate in the Northwest Arkansas metro area was 44.6% from 2010 to 2020. That's compared to 23% for the U.S. during that decade.

  • Signature will work with consulting firm Serve2Perform to place Latino members of the community on boards that advise the bank's various markets (Bentonville, Fayetteville, Rogers, Springdale).

Yes, and: As other banks close or divest of brick and mortar locations, Signature is leaning into its community banking roots by expanding its physical presence.

  • The bank has an application pending with the Arkansas State Bank Department to open a branch in Jonesboro, tentatively set for Feb. 14.
  • Jonesboro will be the bank's ninth physical location.

Flashback: In September, Signature announced it would open a new branch in Harrison, its first foray into Boone County and its eighth location.

By the numbers: The bank's holding company, White River Bancshares Co., recently reported record earnings of more than $7 million for 2021.

What they're saying: The Latino-focused branch was an idea Head intended to explore after founding the bank in 2005. But the housing and financial crisis of 2008 — and the subsequent recovery — derailed some early plans.

  • A recent family trip to Mexico rekindled the idea, he said.

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