Cara Knight


Right at the HEART Podcast: Build Your Credit with EASE

Build your credit with ease in 2021! It’s easy to let go of your goals after just a few months without accountability. If working on improving your credit is top of mind this new year, Farmers Bank & Trust wants to help you get started and stay on the right track.

We’re announcing the Foundation Credit Card! With a manageable limit and low payment options, it’s an easy way to establish and build your credit with ease.

In this episode, Farmers Bank & Trust Card Services & ATM Operations Manager Heather Ard talks about:

Credit Cards 101

  • Why learning about credit is important
  • How a credit card works
  • How credit can be a useful tool when managing your everyday finances
  • What a credit score is
  • Information on the Farmers Bank & Trust Foundation Credit Card and how it can help you establish a line of credit

For more information about the Farmers Bank & Trust Foundation Credit Card and to apply online, visit HERE. View the full Farmers Bank & Trust Foundation Credit Card Disclosure, HERE. To find a branch near you, click HERE.

*This episode was recorded via Zoom.

Member FDIC | Equal Housing Lender

For small businesses, 2020 has been anything but easy. Many were forced to close their doors on short notice due to COVID-19, and that included gyms. McClure Fitness in Benton, Arkansas was no exception.

Owner Marietta McClure shares:

  • How they’ve managed to not only make it through a pandemic but also continue to grow their fitness community
  • What inspired her to open a gym seven years ago, and why she calls the business venture a beautiful accident
  • Practical wellness advice for those needing motivation going into the new year

Visit to find a group fitness class that’s right for you or to sign up for an online workout program.

For all your commercial and small business lending needs, visit HERE.

Member FDIC | Equal Housing Lender


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.

Meet our newest additions:

Jordan Burke – Teller in Hope, AR
Kayla Ray – Retail Banker in Bryant, AR
Maggie Harrell – Part-Time Teller in Magnolia, AR
Robin Barnard – Retail Banker in Magnolia, AR
Jeffie Poole – Loan Assistant in Paris, TX
Megan Stephens  – Retail Banker in Paris, TX
Tina Skidmore – Branch Manager in Paris, TX
Michael Corley – Facilities Coordinator in Texarkana, TX
Madison Haltom – Mortgage Loan Processor/Originator Trainee in Prosper, TX
Breanna Hendrix – Teller in Hope, AR
Erik Roddy – Commercial Loan Officer, Sr. in Paris, TX
Shaylee Keels – Part-Time Customer Contact Center Rep in Magnolia, AR
Hannah Wolf – Retail Banker in Bryant, AR
Jeff Nutt – Market President in Paris, TX

We cannot wait to see the talent, work ethic, and customer service these 14 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.

Alex and Caitlin Rice and Haylea and Justin Morgan are all smiles at the Open House for their completed remodel on Hazel Street in Texarkana in May of 2019.

Two Texarkana couples are on a mission to revitalize their community neighborhoods one property remodel at a time. Together, Haylea and Justin Morgan and Alex and Caitlin Rice make up ETX Revival Co.

They all work full-time jobs, but they find time on weekends and after work to create, build, and inspire. Haylea Morgan is the Marketing Assistant for Farmers Bank & Trust.

“We were wrapping up a home remodel and the Rice’s had just finished up construction on their first home when we all first met,” Morgan said. “We began helping each other on small home projects and realized we worked well as a team. Our friendship grew and so did our crazy ideas.”

Four Kids, One Dream


Before and After of the Hazel Street home remodel.

Their motto is “Four kids, one dream.” Morgan said their goal is to create homes with personality and charm in neighborhoods you can walk to the local coffee shop. They hope when they do finish a project, it inspires at least one family in the neighborhood to refresh their own home’s curb appeal.

“One of our most proud moments is the Hazel house project,” Morgan said. “We bought the worst house on the entire block. The previous residents were a family of raccoons, literally!”

Aside from seeing all of their hard work pay off, the challenge is what the four love most about renovating older homes.

“If you have all the money in the world, you can completely rework a home,” she said. “But we love to develop creative ways to make a space work for our budget and keep the home affordable for most people when it comes time to sell.”

The Lodge

Currently, the couple duo is working on a unique project in Wake Village, Texas. They purchased The Masonic Lodge in October of 2019 with dreams of creating an entirely new space.

Midway through framing up a kitchen on the inside of The Lodge.

“We’re wrapping up phase one for The Lodge,” Morgan explained. “We converted the entire upstairs, formally the meeting location for the Masons, into two loft-style apartments. We demolished the stairs inside, swapped out windows for doors, created a massive covered parking and deck, and so much more.”

The two new living spaces will be ready to rent in January. Morgan said they’re going to take a short break before rolling up their sleeves to tackle the downstairs space. Plans for that area is still in the works.

A final look at one of the kitchens in The Lodge.

“When designing a space, we really let the properties guide us on what style to go with,” Morgan said. “We knew the Masonic Lodge was a staple within the community for so long, so we opted to name it The Lodge. We went with dark greens and wood tones to bring out the lodge feeling. Each apartment even has an electric fireplace to give off the cozy vibe of being in a cabin!”

A Labor of Love

Everyone loves to see a good before and after photo, but remodeling fixer-upper homes and properties are not for the faint of heart.

“If you plan on doing it all yourself like us, it is definitely time-consuming,” Morgan said. “But if you love the results and don’t mind that you didn’t get a vacation that year – congrats! You are addicted to remodeling. Welcome to the club!”

The Morgan’s and Rice’s take each project as it comes, and they’re always looking out for their next one to tackle. You can follow along their “drab to fab” adventures on Facebook HERE and watch projects unfold in real-time on their Instagram HERE.

Want to start a project of your own? Reach out to a Farmers Bank & Trust loan officer here:

This has been an unprecedented year for most Americans. As we approach the Thanksgiving holiday, some may be finding a lot to be grateful for, while others may have had a different experience and may be struggling with feeling gratitude.

Sometimes having gratitude is something people have to work on, especially children, who are used to seeing the world with themselves in the center.

The best way for children to learn gratitude is by having good role models. Seeing you express gratitude regularly goes a long way. Helping them see the world outside themselves help build gratitude. For example, understanding that not everyone lives in a house or neighborhood like theirs, or that people in different cultures and countries celebrate and give thanks in different ways.

Creative Traditions

Here are a few creative traditions you can start with your kids to teach them how to begin to think about how their actions can bring happiness to themselves and others:

1. Start the day with an intention.
Mornings can be crazy, especially on school days, but grab a second, at the breakfast table or in the car, to ask your kids to set an intention for the day. It’s OK if their intention is self-centered, for instance, if they say they want to perform well at sports that evening. The point is to get them thinking about being intentional and learning that their actions affect others. Eventually, you’ll likely see their intentions involving goodwill toward others.

2. End the day with an expression of gratitude.
Again, help them draw their thoughts to the world around them and how they fit in by asking them to state one thing they are grateful for that day. It doesn’t have to be something big, in fact, it’s better if it’s not. Make them think about all the little things they can be thankful for each day.

3. Start a “highs and lows” tradition at dinner time or bedtime.
Each family member states the best and worst thing that happened that day, or their high point and their low point. Then, take it further by asking everyone to “flip” their low point. Can they identify a silver lining in their low point? Is there a lesson in it? Or did their low point benefit someone else? For example, if your child’s low point was that they sat on the bench when they thought they should have been playing, help them to see that it was someone else’s turn to have that high point.

4. Practice acts of service as a family.
One of the best things you can do for your children is to teach them the gift of service to others. Besides benefitting other people, it teaches your kids that giving time and service to others helps lift them emotionally, so it’s a win-win! While it might be difficult to do acts of service physically during social distancing, you could bake cookies to donate to a shelter, write letters to residents of nursing homes, or offer to walk your elderly neighbors’ dogs.

5. Start a family charity.
Kids love to save up money, and many can be very generous with their savings. Start a family charity fund and offer to match what your children contribute from their allowance, other earned money, or monetary gifts. Once or twice a year, decide as a family where to donate the accumulated funds.

6. Let them be secret superheroes.
Have your children pick a person to be a secret superhero for. It may be a classmate, neighbor, or member of your extended family. Your child can write notes of encouragement or praise to this person, leave them small gifts, or secretly perform an act of kindness for them. The point of remaining secret is to teach your children that they don’t need to be recognized or rewarded for being kind to others.

Michael Shinn and his “stick buddy” Ben Russell at the Andalusia Airport in Alabama prior to a training flight.

Since the coronavirus pandemic hit earlier this year, more people are learning how to maintain a work-life balance. One of Farmers Bank & Trust’s newest employees has managed to master not only the work-life balance but the juggle of two careers. One of those being in service to our country for the Army National Guard.

Michael Shinn graduated from Arkansas Tech University with a Finance and Economics degree. When the opportunity presented itself to work at the Bank, he said he felt called to be a part of the team.

Shinn and his wife Reigny.

“There are several reasons I feel Farmers is the perfect fit for me, but perhaps the most significant is their huge support of first responders and military personnel,” Shinn said. “It hits close to home for me.”

Shinn grew up in Lonoke, AR, and he and his wife, Reigny, just purchased their first home in Benton. He’s currently a management trainee at the Bank’s branch in Malvern, and his office will be at the new location in Saline County on Highway 5 when it opens in the coming months.

UH-60 Black Hawk Pilot

During high school, Shinn participated in Lonoke’s JROTC program and that influenced his decision to enlist in the Arkansas Army National Guard. He’s now a second lieutenant and a UH-60 Black Hawk Pilot.

From Shinn’s point of view as he and Ben Russell are coming in for landing at the Cairns Army Airfield.

“I knew the Guard was the right choice for me because it allowed me to serve my country, and more specifically the state of Arkansas while continuing to attend college full time and achieve my civilian goals,” he said. “I attended the Officer Candidate School where I earned my commission and branch as an Army Aviation Officer.”

Serving in the National Guard places a unique challenge for traditional soldiers, and even more so for aircrew members. Shinn serves a minimum of one weekend a month and two weeks a year. But as an aviator, he is also required to meet minimum annual flight time requirements.

Finding A Balance

“To minimize the impact of my job at the Bank, I often fly after my normal workday,” he explained. “I’ll finish work, drive to Camp Robinson and spend approximately five hours in an evening to plan, preflight, fly, and debrief. To make all of this work, I continually seek advice from my peers and supervisors to ensure I am communicating and planning effectively to manage both careers.”

So far, it has worked out for him. He says his goals are simple – to impact those around him in a positive way and try to improve both organizations in any way he can.

“Regardless of their specific job, service members and first responders have all volunteered to sacrifice themselves in support of their fellow citizens,” he said.

Shinn with his (L-R) niece, Collins, brother-in-law, Carson, nephew, Cruz, sister, Kristy, step-dad, Jim, and mom, Kathryn, at “Family Day” during training in the UH-72 Lakota.

“For military service members in peacetime, this means they attend military schools, training events, and respond to domestic needs. For part-time soldiers, this comes at a cost. This takes time away from their families, their civilian occupations, and their personal pursuits. Even in the best of times, this puts a strain on the service member and their families.”

That’s why Farmers Bank & Trust chooses to fully support first responders and the Armed Forces. The Bank is accepting monetary donations as part of the 3rd Annual Heart of the Red, White & Blue Military Drive to create care packages for service members and their families. For more information and how you can help, read HERE.

You can avoid financial stress during the holidays by saving up early with the Farmers Bank & Trust Christmas Club Account. While it’s a tradition that began more than 110 years ago, many people either don’t know about it or don’t take advantage of it.

In this episode, Farmers Bank & Trust Customer Contact Center Vice President Judi Franks shares her experience using this product as a young mother and even now as a grandmother, and why she thinks it’s really worth it.

When I was a young mother struggling to pay for Christmas, the thought of being able to buy Christmas gifts that I wanted to and not kill my credit card, that was the draw for me. It’s very simple and it was painless for me.

About the Christmas Club:

  • $10 Opening Deposit before February 1, 2021
  • 50 Week Automatic Savings Plan with a $10 bonus if the balance requirement of $500 is met at the end of the 50 week period
  • $10 is drafted weekly from an FB&T checking account
  • $10 Early Account Closure Fee

To sign up for your Christmas Club Account to have money saved up for Christmas in 2021, visit your local branch today! To find a branch near you, visit HERE.

To find other personal savings accounts that will help your money grow, visit HERE.

*This episode was recorded via Zoom.

Member FDIC | Equal Housing Lender


The month of October is Women’s Small Business Month, and special guest Cassy Meisenheimer sits down to share details about her brand new multimedia publication, Texarkana Monthly.

She shares what inspired her to forge her own path, and offers words of encouragement for women who may be thinking about doing the same, but haven’t built up the courage to do so.

Find Texarkana Monthly on Social:




*This episode was recorded via Zoom.

Member FDIC | Equal Housing Lender


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!

About You:

  • You are a storyteller.
  • You have a passion for your community and the people who live in it.
  • You can come up with story ideas with minimal guidance.
  • You can submit a minimum 500-word count story and photos on a deadline.

Tone/Style Details For Our Blog:

  • Conversational tone
  • Does not follow conventional 5 paragraph essay format – short concise paragraphs that are easy to read
  • Fully formatted sections to make posts easy to skim through
  • Story headline, photo, and/or video required to complement the story

What You Will Do:

  1. Send an e-mail to and pitch three story headlines that you’d potentially like to write for the Farmers Bank & Trust Right at the HEART Blog. Include your resume and writing samples.
  2. If the headlines fit within our content strategy, then we’ll have you write one of the stories and we will come up with a deadline and date to publish.
  3. After we review your piece, we’ll pay you for the post, publish it on our blog, and you’ll have the opportunity to become a regular contributor if desired. If it doesn’t meet our standards, we will not use it, and you’ll have full rights to the post.


  • Based on experience / $75 – $100 per published post


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!