The Bentonville, Ark.-based Arvest Bank Group has bought 29 branches of Bank of America in four states, including the Bank of America at 401 E. Austin Blvd. in Nevada.
Arvest says on its Web site that Bank of America customers "will be contacted no later than Feb. 15 with information about the transition of accounts."
Nevada-Vernon County Chamber of Commerce Executive Director Gina Ensor said Thursday she and County Commissioners Bonnie McCord, Neal Gerster and Everett Wolfe had had lunch here Tuesday with Arvest Senior Vice President Ray Tubach of Pittsburg, Kan., and Executive Vice President for Marketing Rebecca Dunham of Joplin. "They will absolutely be an asset to the community," said Ensor.
"They are really wanting to get involved by giving to United Way and other charitable organizations. I lived in northwest Arkansas when John Q. Hammons built the Embassy Suites in Rogers and got to know Arvest Bank and Wal-Mart.
"They're a wonderful corporation that gives back to the community. Despite being a large corporation, they're very good people. Visiting with Ray and Rebecca, it was very evident that they were trying to find things they could do to be an asset."
Ensor said Arvest's purchase of branches in Missouri, Kansas, Arkansas and Oklahoma, all in Wal-Mart marketing areas like Nevada, will not affect the Bank of America doing business elsewhere around the nation. "Normally when a bank is bought, it ceases to exist," she said.
"This is not the case here. Bank of America will remain very much in operation throughout America."
Although it is sometimes reported to be a branch of the Wal-Mart Corp., Arvest Bank is managed separately from the retail chain in 16 local markets, each one of which has its own president, management team and board of directors.
The Missouri part of the takeover includes Banks of America in Aurora, Branson, Branson West, Carthage, Cassville, Forsyth, Joplin, Lebanon, Lockwood, Monett, Mountain Grove, Neosho, Nevada, Shell Knob and West Plains. Additionally, there are nine branches in Arkansas, four in Oklahoma and one in Pittsburg, Kan.
Most of Arvest's more than 230 branches are open 12 hours a day on weekdays and many are open on Saturdays. It is the biggest bank organization in Arkansas and it has the most locations of any such corporation in Oklahoma, according to references.
Its chairman is James Carr "Jim" Walton, 64, of Bentonville, who is the youngest son of Wal-Mart founder Sam Walton.
Referring to its Feb. 15 deadline for contacting Bank of America customers in Nevada about the changeover, Arvest says on its Web site that checking, savings, IRAs, CDs and loan accounts will be transitioned and that until the changeover takes effect, customers should continue their normal activities.