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Cara Knight

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We’re always looking for fresh, local stories that are happening within our communities! Do you think you’d be interested in becoming a contributing writer for our Right at the Heart blog? Read below and send us an email at marketing@myfarmers.bank!

ARKANSAS: Magnolia, Camden, Hope, Prescott, Texarkana, Malvern, Haskell, Bryant/Benton
TEXAS: Texarkana, New Boston, Prosper

*If you become a contributing writer and earn more than $600/year, we will need a completed W-9.

As we all plan for the holidays, many traditional Halloween activities can be high-risk for spreading viruses. But – there are safer, alternative ways to celebrate this year! We’ve compiled a list of our favorite ways you can safely trick-or-treat and others you can do with your kids in lieu of traditional trick or treating:

Trunk or Treat
Organize a trunk or treat with your neighborhood. Put your treats in the trunk of your car and let the neighborhood kids pass by, keeping their distance from you, and take a treat from the trunk.

Costume Parade
Some neighborhoods are planning to have the children parade in front of homes, 6 feet from one another, in a costume parade. Neighbors could combine their treats and let the kids pick them up at the end of the parade.

Reverse Trick-or-Treat
In this idea, the kids stay in their own yards in costume, and a parent from each home drives by and throws candy from the car.

Glow-in-the-dark Eggs
Order glow-in-the-dark eggs, fill them with candy and scatter them in your yard. Kids can pick up an egg without coming too close to anyone.

Pick a Cup or Bag
Similarly, put your candy or treats in small cups or paper bags and set them out on your porch or a table in your driveway. You can sit nearby and let the kids take their treat as they pass by.

Halloween Piñata
Here’s another idea if your family decides to forgo trick or treating this year. Let your kids take turns whacking a pumpkin piñata until the treats spill out!

Ring and Run Treats
This fun family activity is a new take on the old doorbell dash prank. Sneak to your kids’ friends’ homes and leave a treat on their porch, then ring the doorbell and run! Treats can be Halloween cookies you all bake together.

Virtual Costume Party
Let’s face it, what the kids enjoy most is choosing a costume, dressing up, and showing it off to their friends. They can enjoy each-others’ costumes virtually with a Zoom or Facetime party.

Scavenger Hunt
If you decide not to take your kids out trick or treating this year, plan a scavenger hunt for them with treats hidden around your home. Here’s a fun template we created that you can use! 

How do I know if it’s time to buy instead of rent?

If you know where you want to live, have a steady and secure income, and are ready for the responsibilities of homeownership, then it’s a great time to invest in property!

Can I apply for a loan before I find a home to purchase?

Yes, applying for a mortgage loan before you find a home may be the best thing you could do! If you apply for a mortgage and qualify, we’ll issue you a pre-approval letter online instantly. You can use the pre-approval letter to assure real estate brokers and sellers that you are a qualified buyer.

Once you find the perfect home, you’ll call your Loan Specialist to complete your application. That’s when you’ll have the opportunity to lock in our great rates!

How do I know if I qualify for a loan and how much I can afford?

Click HERE to apply and get pre-approved for a loan.

What’s the difference between pre-approved and pre-qualified?

While often used interchangeably, these terms don’t mean the same thing. Pre-qualification is an estimate of what you may be approved for based only on the verbal information you provide. Pre-approval means we’ve has verified your income and debt information and run a credit check.

I’m self-employed. How will you verify my income?

Generally, the income of self-employed borrowers is verified by obtaining copies of personal (and business, if applicable) federal tax returns for the most recent two-year period to verify that your self-employment income is stable. However, based on your entire financial situation, we may not need full copies of your tax returns.

How do you decide what you need from me to process my loan?

Our local underwriters compare your financial situation with statistical data from millions of other homeowners and use that comparison to determine the level of verification needed. Gone are the days when it was necessary to verify every piece of data collected during the application. In many cases, a single W-2 or pay stub can be used to verify your income or a single bank statement can be used to verify the assets needed to close your loan.

How will my credit score affect my application?

Credit scores used for mortgage loan decisions range from approximately 300 to 900. Generally, the higher your credit score, the lower the risk that your payments won’t be paid as agreed. Keep in mind there are many other factors when making a loan decision and we never evaluate an application without looking at the total financial picture of a customer.

I was in school before obtaining my current job. How do I complete the application?

If you were in school before your current job, enter the name of the school you attended and the length of time you were in school in the “length of employment” fields. You can enter a position of “student” and income of “0.”

Do I need a home inspection AND an appraisal?

Both a home inspection and an appraisal are designed to protect you against potential issues with your new home. The appraiser will make note of obvious construction problems such as termite damage, dry rot, or leaking roofs or basements. Other obvious interior or exterior damage that could affect the salability of the property will also be reported.

However, appraisers aren’t construction experts and won’t find or report items that are not obvious. They won’t turn on every light switch, run every faucet, or inspect the attic or mechanicals. That’s where the home inspector comes in. Accompany the inspector and gain knowledge of major systems, appliances and fixtures, learn maintenance schedules and tips, and ask questions about the condition of the home.

What happens at the loan closing?

The closing will take place at the office of a title company or attorney in your area who will act as our agent. If you are purchasing a new home, the seller may also be at the closing to transfer ownership to you, but in some states, these two events happen separately.

You will review and sign several loan papers. The closing agent or attorney conducting the closing should be able to answer any questions you have or you can contact your Loan Specialist if you prefer. Just to make sure there are no surprises at closing, your Loan Specialist will contact you a few days beforehand to review your final fees, loan amount, first payment date, etc.

For more answers to frequently asked questions, visit our Resource Center HERE.


GETANOTHERQUOTE.COM

Member FDIC | Equal Housing Lender

Every day, thousands of people fall victim to fraudulent emails, texts, and calls from scammers pretending to be their bank. And in this time of expanded use of online banking, the problem is only growing worse. In fact, the Federal Trade Commission’s report on fraud estimates that American consumers lost a staggering $1.9 billion to these phishing schemes and other fraud in 2019 — and the ongoing pandemic has only increased the threat. Imagine where we are in 2020.

It’s time to put scammers in their place.

Online scams aren’t so scary when you know what to look for. And at Farmers Bank & Trust, we’re committed to helping you spot them as an extra layer of protection for your account. We’ve teamed up with the American Bankers Association and banks across the country in a nationwide effort to fight phishing—one scam at a time.

We want every bank customer to become a pro at spotting a phishing scam—and stop bank impostors in their tracks. It starts with these four words: Banks Never Ask That. Because when you know what sounds suspicious, you’ll be less likely to be fooled.

These top 3 phishing scams are full of red flags:

Text Message: If you receive a text message from someone claiming to be your bank asking you to sign in, or offer up your personal information, it’s a scam. Banks never ask that.

Email: Watch out for emails that ask you to click a suspicious link or provide personal information. The sender may claim to be someone from your bank, but it’s a scam. Banks never ask that.

Phone Call: Would your bank ever call you to verify your account number. No! Banks never ask that. If you’re ever in doubt that the caller is legitimate, just hang up and call the bank directly at a number you trust.

You’ve probably seen some of these scams before. But that doesn’t stop a scammer from trying. For more tips on how to keep phishing criminals at bay, including videos, an interactive quiz, and more, visit www.BanksNeverAskThat.com. Be sure to share the webpage with your friends and family.

What’s Your Scam Score?

Take five minutes to become a scamspotter pro by taking the #BanksNeverAskThat quiz at BanksNeverAskThat.com. Share your score on Twitter to encourage your friends and family to test their scam savviness, too. The more scamspotters out there, the harder it is for phishing criminals to catch their next victim!

We’re so glad to have you on board!

It is always an exciting time for us at Farmers Bank & Trust when we add new members to our family. This group was apart of our first in-person new hire orientation since January!

Meet our newest additions:

Cheyenne Lynch – Card Services in Magnolia, AR
Amy Rowland – Mortgage
LaQuesha Glover – Teller in Magnolia, AR
Bailey Eads – Customer Contact Center in Magnolia, AR
Allie Stokes – Branch Supervisor in Bryant, AR
Emily Russell – Teller in Magnolia, AR
Carina Rodriguez – Retail Banker in Texarkana, AR
Justin Swecker – Teller in Texarkana, AR
Vanessa Perez – Retail Banker in Bryant, AR

We cannot wait to see the talent, work ethic, and customer service these nine individuals will bring to our customers. No matter the role you take on at Farmers Bank & Trust, to us, you’re family!

 


Interested in joining our Team?

You can explore open opportunities and submit an application using our Careers Portal.

Kent McClure and his wife Marietta with twin daughters Elin and Etta and sons Rex and Shad

Farmers Bank & Trust is pleased to announce the promotion of Kent McClure to Bryant Market President, a new full-service branch located at 3345 Highway 5 North that is set to open before the end of the year.

McClure graduated from the University of Arkansas in 2007 and has lived in Saline County for the last 15 years. He started his banking career at Farmers Bank & Trust in 2017 as a Commercial Loan Officer. Within those three years, he has built his portfolio to $67 million. Prior to banking, McClure worked for the Arkansas Development and Finance Authority and has experience working in property management.

“Saline County is a special place with four distinct communities. Farmers Bank & Trust has served Haskell for the last ten years, and I’m looking forward to this opportunity to help grow Bryant, Benton, and Bauxite.” McClure said. “We will be a valuable member of Saline County and a big supporter of local businesses.”

McClure and his wife, Marietta, have four children and are small business owners of McClure Fitness. They are members of First Baptist Church in Benton, and he’s actively involved with both the Benton Chamber of Commerce and the Bryant Chamber of Commerce. He also volunteers for the Boys and Girls Club of Saline County, providing funding for events and the youth basketball program.

“We have a lot of connections and relationships here in central Arkansas,” Chris Gosnell, CEO of Farmers Bank & Trust said. “It makes perfect sense for us to expand and open a new branch in this area. We couldn’t be more excited about it, and I know Kent will do an excellent job leading our team here.”

If you are interested in buying new construction, know that the process differs somewhat from buying a pre-owned home. Our Farmers Bank & Trust Mortgage Team can still help you through the financing process!

1. Decide on Your Builder & Homesite

If you are looking at a particular neighborhood, find out if there is one builder or if the developer allows you to bring in your own builder. If you are looking at building on a lot that is not restricted to a particular builder, it’s important to research builders in your area to find one that is reputable and stands by their work. Meet with builders before you make your selection. It’s important that they are organized and communicate well.

2. Obtain Pre-Approval 

Builders sometimes work with particular mortgage companies and will offer discounts on closing costs for using their “preferred” lender. No matter what lender you choose, you will need to get pre-approved for fixed-rate financing once your construction is complete. Farmers Bank & Trust can finance up to 90% of your construction loan and considers land equity as part of your money down.

3. Sign a Contract with Your Builder

Builders use their own contracts that are similar to a regular sales contract but include additional terms specific to the building process, such as at what points during building the contractor gets paid, and what options you have to choose from. Your agent can help you interpret the terms of the builder’s contract before you sign.

4. Secure a Loan

Once you sign your contract, the lender will need to get started on your loan application. It’s important that you provide them any information they ask for in a timely manner.

5. Select Your Options

There will be a lot of decisions to be made throughout your build. Being prepared with your choices at each stage will help keep the build on schedule. Most builders have someone who will work with you to let you know what stage they are on and which decisions are coming due and when they need to be made. If your build is custom, you will need to do a lot of research into finishes, fixtures, colors, hardware, and appliances so you know what you want and what you can afford.

6. Home Walk-Throughs Throughout the Building Process

You will need to check on every phase of construction to double-check that everything is done according to plan. Even the best builders have miscommunications, mix-ups on orders, or problems with installations. Plan on visiting the home daily once it gets dried-in.

7. Optional Inspection

Even though your home is brand-new, you might still want to have a home inspection done. Sometimes an inspector will catch something that slipped past the contractor and code enforcement.

8. Closing day!

Closing day on new construction differs slightly from a pre-owned home in that there is often a “punch list” of items the builder is responsible for finishing up either on closing day or shortly afterward. This may include cleaning, touch-up painting, installing landscaping, or changing out locks. You should have the opportunity to go through the house with the builder shortly before closing to add items you notice to the punch list.

Ready to build the home of your dreams and need help with financing? Apply for a true cost home loan quote at GETANOTHERQUOTE.COM!


Member FDIC | Equal Housing Lender

This quote accurately describes something that has been a large part of Mary Harsh’s life: planting, growing, and sharing roses. She’s the granddaughter of Farmers Bank & Trust’s original founders and still lives in Magnolia, Arkansas today. Many people who know Mary in Columbia County also know the love she has for her rose garden.

“I remember seeing one of my grandmother’s garden, you know with peas and beans and that kind of thing. But, I never was much of a gardener,” Harsh said. “Now roses – that really appealed to me.”

A Gift to Enjoy

Through the years, she said she bought many rose books and magazines and visited rose shows to learn more. Her favorite part about all of it is making other people smile as she gifts them a beautiful bouquet. The day we did this interview with her, she had already gifted the majority of her blooms to the Magnolia Junior Charity League.

“I just want people to enjoy them,” she said. “Sometimes I take them to the nursing home and sometimes I take them to churches. If people call me and want them, I’ll share them if I’ve got some.”

She has about 115 rose bushes in her backyard now, but for the last four years, she’s decided not to replenish them as they die off. Mrs. Harsh is very active and won’t miss out on a good night of playing bridge with her friends, but tending to a garden full can be quite a task for a 98-year-old.

Master Gardener

It’s a hobby she picked up over time, but eventually, she became a Columbia County Master Gardener. However, it’s not something she prefers to brag about.

“There just happened to be two sisters who took me all the time and we had to take a test,” she explained. “They told me not to worry about it because it was an open book test. Well, of course, I sat in the middle of them and got a little help. They should’ve known when they made it open book! I say I’m a Master Gardener, but only because they were helping me.”

While her roses are widely known in south Arkansas, there’s also one thing you’ll learn about Mrs. Harsh when talking to her, she isn’t lacking a sense of humor.

For Beginners

“If you’re just starting out, buy you some really good pruning shears. I mean spend $50 on them and hold on to them. Don’t let anybody have them! I’ve lost some, a few too many through the years,” she laughed.

One of her biggest pieces of advice for someone who’d like to grow their own roses – patience.

“Make sure you buy a good rose bush from a nursery,” she said. “They might not look like you think they’re going to look at first but don’t give up the first year you try.”

Students, teachers, and staff are in back-to-school mode. It’s a time of uncertainty and a time to be cautious.

The plan is different for all schools, but in this episode, we talk to Heath Bennett, Superintendent of Harmony Grove School District in Haskell, Arkansas. That’s about 30 miles south of Little Rock.

He shares how he has prepared to tackle the unknown challenges COVID-19 has and will inevitably bring along this fall. From making seating charts for the cafeteria to ordering fog machines for custodians to disinfect the hallways, he’s down to the details to make sure students and staff are staying safe.

 

*This episode was recorded via Zoom.


Member FDIC | Equal Housing Lender

#BankingWithHEART

You see the Farmers Bank & Trust logo everywhere, or at least we hope you do! But do you know the significance of the name Farmers Bank & Trust? The name and the recognizable “Rising F,” as we call it, holds value to who we are as a company and how the Bank began more than 110 years ago.

Farmers Bank & Trust was chartered on September 26, 1906, in Magnolia, Arkansas, by R.S. Warnock Sr., Sam Grayson, and a group of local investors.

Mary Harsh is the granddaughter of the Bank’s original founders, Warnock Sr. and Grayson, and she still lives in Magnolia today. In the video below, she explains how Farmers Bank & Trust got its name:

Grandpapa Warnock was in a bank on the square and that president died. The bank wasn’t very progressive, he just took your money and that’s all. Grandpapa saw the cotton farmers that brought in the cotton on the square and sold the cotton there. He saw all that. My other Granddaddy was a sawmiller and he saw that people had to have mules to make a living, but you had to borrow the money sometimes. That’s why it’s called Farmers Bank & Trust.

She said both her grandfathers saw farmers wanted money for their cotton and timber, and ultimately that is what brought them together to organize what is Farmers Bank & Trust today.

In January 2017, Chris Gosnell, the fifth generation of a founding family assumed the role of President & Chief Executive Officer.

“When we updated our logo, we wanted to capture our history while also making it more modern to fit with the changing of times,” Gosnell said. “That can be difficult to do, but we embraced our history and came up with the Rising F. This symbolizes our beginning along with our desire to grow with our customers. It’s similar to planting crops and a crop growing into a prosperous and sustainable venture. At the time, before we updated our look, we identified as FB&T. We chose to embrace how we began all those years ago and returned fully to Farmers Bank & Trust.”

To Us, You’re Family!


Member FDIC | Equal Housing Lender