July 2019 Magazine

Arkansas Businesses Celebrating Anniversaries: First National Bank – 130 Years


by Tristan Bennett

First National Bank – 130 Years

This year many Arkansas businesses are celebrating big anniversaries alongside our state’s celebration of its territory bicentennial. Anniversaries are always an accomplishment, whether it’s one year, a centennial or more. 

Bought as part of the Louisiana Purchase, the land that became Arkansas was established as a territory on March 2, 1819, according to the “Encyclopedia of Arkansas.” To celebrate the bicentennial, Arkansans gathered at the State Capitol in March for a party complete with a birthday cake, historical displays and a speech from Gov. Asa Hutchinson.

Several of the state’s businesses are holding their own anniversary celebrations this year. It’s a milestone many do not get to enjoy. Twenty percent of businesses never see their first anniversary, and only about half will make it to their fifth year, according to the Small Business Administration. Arkansas is lucky to have such a diverse economy made up of local, homegrown businesses that Arkansans have continued to support for many years. 

First National Bank is celebrating 130 years of putting customers first. The bank first opened as the Bank of Paragould in March 1889 and now serves 10 Arkansas cities, investing specifically in each community.

Being community-minded has remained a constant at First National. 

“Having an impact on our home is a huge part of the foundation of First National Bank,” says Blake Guinn, vice president of retail banking and marketing. 

First National recently made a $5 million contribution to Arkansas State University and donated a substantial amount to help KLEK, a local radio station in Jonesboro, expand its reach.

Major changes at First National are affecting cities across the state as well. This year the First National Financial Park facility in Jonesboro was officially opened. 

“It’s a 60,000-square-foot building that has allowed us to make a great connection with the community by welcoming them into our event venues and creating excitement about the growth in our area,” Guinn says.

Last year the bank also acquired Little Rock-based Onebanc, growing it to the 20 locations it now holds in the state.

Keeping a business open for 130 years is no easy task. First National’s focus on community has helped them maintain success over the years. 

“It’s all about the relationship between a great banker and a great member of our community looking to do business,” Guinn says. “The employees work tirelessly every day to ensure exceptional customer care.”

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