Special Issues » Heights & Hillcrest 2010

Banking close to home

Community involvement important to neighborhood banks


Fundraising is fun

It was about four years ago that Metropolitan National Bank at 2800 Kavanaugh Blvd. first opened its doors at its Hillcrest location. Branch Manager Emma Boyd says while they offer a full line of financial products, community involvement tops their list of services.

"We love getting involved," she says about a list that includes partnering with Pulaski Heights Middle School last year and teaching the elementary school children how to open an account and the importance of saving.

"We participated in the chili cookoff during last year's HarvestFest. Unfortunately, we didn't win. Still it was lots of fun," she says. In addition, the bank is a big supporter of the Hillcrest Merchants Association's First Thursday Shop and Sip. This is a great community and we're happy to be a part of it.

From web design to debate team

When not busy sponsoring the Razorbacks at War Memorial Stadium, sending Central High School debate students to national competitions or helping build a wetland in downtown Little Rock, One Banc is reaching out to the Heights retail community.

Howard McCain, a lifelong Heights resident and senior vice president at One Banc's Heights branch at 5601 Kavanaugh Blvd., says, "We like to get involved." Currently, the bank is lending a helping hand to the Heights Merchants Association.

For the last few years, One Banc has marketed the area through a website and wide-reaching advertising campaign.

The Heights is a loose mix of stores and restaurants and has not had the same efforts to promote it as other retail centers in the city. One Banc, along with partners like Feinstein's, is trying to fill that need.

"We're happy to be a part of it," McCain says.

New to the neighborhood

When an empty spot came open in the Heights, First Security Bank at 5600 Kavanaugh jumped at the chance to move in. In addition to convenience, John Rutledge, president and chief executive officer of First Security Bank's Little Rock market, says, "It's such a historic neighborhood. We have enjoyed the opportunity to be involved in fun community events such as the monthly Happy Hour in the Heights, and we're looking forward to participating in the upcoming Chili Fights in the Heights, a first-time event we hope to be a part of for years to come. We look forward to being a part of the continued growth of this beautiful neighborhood."

Investing in the area

For Allied Bank President and CEO Alex Golden, the Heights is the perfect area to expand. In fact, a new bank branch will soon be occupying the northeast corner of Kavanaugh at Cantrell.

"We hope to open for business by the end of the year," Golden says. But that doesn't mean they'll close their location at 5701 Kavanaugh Blvd.

Because he grew up in the Heights and continues to make it his home and business base, Golden feels it's important to reach out to the local community. "We help out where we can," he says.

Golden and his wife Conley donate their time to organizations such as the Junior League of Little Rock, Little Rock Boys and Girls Club, Forest Park Elementary, where Golden went to school and now his children do, too. He says his family tries to make their biggest contribution to the community through their financial practices and investments. For instance, Lex Golden, Alex's father, purchased Terry's Finer Foods and opened Terry's The Restaurant last year, and his wife's business, Ellen Golden French Antiques, is a Heights' mainstay.

"We love the Heights; so we try to help the community through our business model. When we invest, we do it in the Heights," Golden says.

Lending a helping hand

While as many as 14,000 Arkansans each year hear, 'You can't do it,' Little Rock's Summit Bank tells individuals with intellectual disabilities, 'You can do it,' through its support of Special Olympics Arkansas's Charity Olive Hour.

Scott Yant, Heights branch manager, says, "Investing in our communities, like the Heights, is part of the fabric of Summit Bank."

He believes the Heights is a unique community, and says the bank is thrilled to be a part of it and strives to support local events and organizations that foster growth and prosperity.

"We are extremely committed to the Heights and look forward to continuing to make a big impact through community giving and community action," he says.

Summit Bank at 1800 N. Taylor St. is also a member of the Heights Neighborhood Association.

Reading is Fundamental

Centennial Bank's Loretta Blocker has a number of titles including teller supervisor, customer service representative and her favorite—Jefferson Elementary School employee volunteer. She says the Heights bank at 4924 Kavanaugh Blvd. believes it's important to support the Cammack Village community school.

"Jefferson is one of the bank's partner schools," says Blocker. More than an employer expectation, her work at the school is personal. Her children went to school there.

"At (Jefferson Elementary School) graduation we recognize three students with achievement awards," she says. The bank also invites the children to sing Christmas carols in the bank's lobby.

Then there's the mentoring program. Blocker, along with about six other volunteers, read to students and offer assistance in other subjects when needed.

"I've been doing it for the last four years," she says. It's Blocker's way of giving back to a school that gave her children so much.

Heights and Hillcrest area banks

Allied Bank
5701 Kavanaugh Blvd.

Bank of America
6001 Kavanaugh Blvd.

Bank of England
1320 Rebsamen Park Rd.

Centennial Bank
4924 Kavanaugh Blvd.

Delta Trust
2924 Kavanaugh Blvd.

First Security Bank
5600 Kavanaugh Blvd.

Iberia Bank
(formerly Pulaski Bank)
5800 R St.

Metropolitan National Bank
2800 Kavanaugh Blvd.

One Banc
5601 Kavanaugh Blvd.

Simmons First National Bank
1818 N. Taylor St.

Simmons First National Bank
5000 W. Markham St.

Summit Bank
1800 N. Taylor St.

US Bank
5200 Kavanaugh Blvd.

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