BY JACLYN ROSE –
Arvest Bank began in Bentonville, Arkansas in 1961 and through the course of the last 53 years has expanded into the largest bank in Arkansas by deposits and the largest bank in Oklahoma by number of branches. With 260 branches in Arkansas, Oklahoma and Missouri, they have banks in over 100 communities.
The local Arvest Bank, located on Highway 71 North in Mena, is managed as its own entity with 10 local employees, and has been in Mena since 2003.
Damon Miller, Branch Manager, is a 2002 graduate of Mena High School and also holds a degree from Rich Mountain Community College. He began his work for Arvest in 2006 as the Financial Services Representative and was promoted to Assistant Manager in 2008 and then Branch Manager in March of 2014. He and his wife, Kim, have two sons: Daeton and Kypton. “I love the crew we have working here. We are basically a family and each of us has a separate skill set which makes for a fantastic team. We greet everybody and talk to everybody and know most of them by name. We enjoy our customers and have developed great relationships with many of them,” explained Miller.
As a full service bank, Arvest not only offers a wide variety of loans: mortgage, personal, commercial, and agricultural. They offer checking and savings accounts but they also have an asset manager who comes to town weekly to consult customers on investments. “The best part of Arvest is that we are small enough to know you but we are large enough to provide the services our customers need,” Miller said.
The Mena Arvest Branch is also dedicated to its community. “We are currently working on our Million Meals Campaign and all monetary donations or food items collected at our branch will be sent to the Rice Depot who will send it straight back to our local schools. We are huge supporters of our local schools and members of the Bearcat Foundation. Each year Arvest does a large United Way drive, but because we don’t have a local United Way they allow us to cut our check to a local program that we feel could use the funds,” Miller explained.
Additionally, Arvest hosts a Pay It Forward initiative. On an unknown date they will partner with the local Mena McDonalds, who will match the funds they provide, and together they will pay for patrons’ meals as they go through the McDonald’s drive-through line. This successful outreach program began last year and was able to bless many members of the local community. “I love that Arvest Bank cares as much about my community as I do. They not only allow me to volunteer but they encourage it. Arvest Bank is a ‘people helping people’ business and I’m so proud to be a part of that,” said Jenny Graves, Assistant Manager at the Mena branch.
“Having been born and raised in Polk County, I really appreciate the connections and friends I’ve made here. My favorite part of being the Branch Manager is having the freedom to leave the office and visit with businesses and meet new people around town. I am thankful for the small town community here, where you know your child’s teacher so you can just call them up to discuss something, or you know a business owner, so you have the freedom to call them up and chat and they are so willing to help their neighbor out. The sense of community in Polk County is the very best part of this area,” Miller said.