Bank OZK1 appears to have found a way to balance being the largest bank in Arkansas with the personal touch of your hometown institution. Even as it’s grown, it’s established a reputation nationally of excellence, being named the number one performing bank in the country thirteen times over the past eight years. 2
“Our staff is so knowledgeable, professional and courteous,” Robi McDonald, executive vice president. “No matter which location you visit or call across the state, someone will be there who can help you with whatever you need. And if you have an out-of-the ordinary situation, we bring in our subject matter experts to offer creative solutions to your needs.”
Bank of Ozark, as it was then called, was purchased in 1979 by George Gleason, a 25-year-old attorney. At the time, the bank had just two locations in Ozark, Arkansas and 28 employees. The bank has since grown to employ over 2,600 and is now among the top 60 banks in asset size in the nation. 3
“We have banking offices in Arkansas, Texas, Florida, California, Mississippi, Alabama, North Carolina, South Carolina, Georgia and New York,” McDonald said.
While the growth of the bank is impressive, Robi McDonald says Bank OZK’s approach is the same as it was more than a century ago: provide the finest customer service and community support in every location, and now additionally through digital access.
“Some of our biggest referrals for business and personal banking are through simple word of mouth,” he said. “You treat someone well or give them the right advice and direction, and they spread the word about what you did and how they were treated.”
And McDonald is quick to point out that that level of service extends to every generation of customer because Bank OZK recognizes that financial needs are individualized.
“Everything today is based on convenience. ‘How much can I do in the least amount of time,’” he said. “Banking is no different, whether it’s online access to transferring money to initiating wire transfers. How can we serve your needs with ease, speed and convenience?
To fulfill those needs, McDonald says Bank OZK has a team of specialists dedicated to identifying and adapting technological advancements to customers’ specifications.
“Their sole purpose is to find ways we can make our bank better, improve products and improve service,” he said. “These are the questions we’re looking to address every day through evolving technology. You evolve if you want to remain relevant, and that is something I believe our bank has done quite well, while maintaining our strong heritage of hometown banking and personalized service.”
Every customer is unique, and McDonald’s team understands that. From young professionals getting started to adults nearing or post retirement, Bank OZK is ready to serve everyone.
“We have customers who come in, read the newspaper, have a cup of coffee and chat in the morning with branch managers. Other customers may rarely visit a physical banking office, but expect an outstanding mobile banking experience,” he said. “Whether you want to meet in person and talk about your banking or text to get your needs met, we are ready because, especially today, everyone sees banking differently.”
“We have many touch points in terms of communication; some customers prefer email or text, others prefer to make a phone call and others want to come in and talk about every option, every detail, every service that enhances a checking account or every option for borrowing funds. We are here to serve them all.”
Recently, to better reflect the bank’s regional and national presence, Bank OZK underwent a rebranding. Its name officially changed in July of 2018 from Bank of the Ozarks to the new Bank OZK. However, McDonald says that change doesn’t detract from the company’s dedication to its history and heritage. In fact, the rebranding was designed to enhance the bank’s services and capabilities.
“We have customers who now live in Texas, and we have branches there,” he said. “If they choose, they can call us here in Saline County, and we’ll take care of them because location is really irrelevant in today’s world.“
“We can’t forget our roots as a community bank, where a handshake still means something. We began as a small community bank in Ozark, Arkansas, founded on customer service and we still do that today, no matter where you are.”
2Top bank in the U.S. in asset size category as named by ABA Banking Journal 2011, 2012 and Bank Director 2013, 2014, 2015, 2016, 2017, 2018.
3#1 Regional Bank as named by S&P Global Market Intelligence 2012, 2015, 2016, 2017.