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.
Farmers Bank & Trust has opened its first full-service branch in Paris, TX. Located at 1375 NE Loop 286 in Paris, TX, the Bank purchased and remodeled the former TEXAR Federal Credit Union building.
“We are thrilled to be a part of the Farmers family and introduce Farmers Bank & Trust to our community. As all of our staff are lifelong residents of Paris, this community and the relationships we have mean everything to us. The combination of Farmers Bank & Trust’s 115 years of relationship banking, a community of amazing people and businesses will create a great fit. You will see a huge commitment from Farmers to giving back and being a true part of the local community; it is the heart of who we are.” said Jeff Nutt, Farmers Bank & Trust Paris Market President.
The new Farmers Bank & Trust branch will provide full teller, accounts and loan services, a drive-thru, and a notary. In addition, there will be a MyFarmers iTeller Interactive Teller Machine with live teller services available from 7 am to 7 pm Monday through Friday, and 8 am to 3 pm on Saturday, with 24/7 ATM services.
Farmers Bank & Trust Chief Executive Officer Chris Gosnell said, “After visiting Paris, TX, we found that the characteristics of the community perfectly matched our core values. We are excited about our Paris team and hope to become a valuable partner of the Paris Business Community.”
“We’ve adopted a more modern approach to banking,” Joe Pieratt, Farmers Bank & Trust Chief Operating Officer, said. “I think you will notice that when you walk into our new branch. The teller pods offer an opportunity to really connect with our customers.”
The Paris branch team will include Jeff Nutt, Paris Market President; Erik Roddy, Senior Commercial Loan Officer; Mike Kennedy, Business Development Manager; Tina Skidmore, Branch Manager; Jeffie Poole, Loan Assistant; Megan Stephens, Retail Banker; and Tristan Wheeler, Retail Banker.
The public is invited to visit the new branch to open accounts, speak to a loan officer, or receive assistance with any banking needs Monday through Friday from 9 am to 5 pm. A grand opening and ribbon cutting celebration for the location will be postponed until the spring to follow COVID-19 safety measures.
A woman named Missy stood out in front of a Wal-Mart in Texarkana about a year and a half ago with all her possessions next to her feet. She felt lost and afraid in a city where she knew only one person. He had physically and verbally abused her and taken drugs. Finally, the abuse just turned into what she called a “snowball progression.”
When she moved to be with him from Palestine, TX, she didn’t know about his drug abuse. “I didn’t realize he was using, and I did not want to be part of that life,” she said. She stayed with him for eight months with her back against the wall as he warned her she could not leave.
One day he finally did allow her to go if she promised she would not call the police. She thought about going to the local shelter, but she knew that would be too close. She needed to escape to a town further away. So, she called Compassion’s Foundation, Inc. in Magnolia, AR. When she called, she was told she would need to get a ride to the facility, and then they could help her. A tender-hearted older woman saw Missy’s desperate situation and decided to help her by giving her a ride to Magnolia. “God, intervened. I know I looked like I was in dire straights with the few bags that I had outside of Wal-Mart,” she said.
The first couple of weeks at the shelter, Missy said she mostly just slept and recuperated. The women there were kind and asked if she would like to go to church services, but she said couldn’t. “I just wasn’t trying to hear that yet,” she said. What she found particularly nice about the shelter was how much the community supports it. By donating clothing, the community truly makes a difference for women who need these items. “We were freely able to get something to go look for a job or to go to church in,” she said. Donations from the community also paid for prescriptions women needed while in the shelter and even sometimes beyond. “He had broken my false teeth, and I was pretty sure this was going to hurt my chances of getting a job,” she said. “Somehow, a Texarkana dentist fixed them. The money got donated, or he did it. I don’t know.”
As soon as she had her teeth, Missy was ready to work and began at a local restaurant for five months. But she had her hopes set on a job at another local company where she could make a better living. Her hopes became a blessing when she received a job at that company.
She said she doesn’t know what she would have done without the Compassion’s Foundation, Inc. and the great gift they gave her of starting over. “If I was stuck at Wal-Mart, I don’t know what I would have done. I probably would have ended up in another relationship,” she said. “The advocates were supportive, and they knew what I was doing. It was kind of like a family there. I mean, they are strict, and they have rules, but that is so people don’t take advantage.” Missy said she knows the statistics for women going back to their abuser are high, so the advocates work with the clients and teach them independence. “I don’t want to be dependent on anyone again,” she said.
Another aspect of her new life is her church home, which she considers her second family. She also has taken on a second job at a local restaurant since they provided her a job during a temporary lay-off. “I figure it’s the right thing to do because it wouldn’t be right for them to train me only to work here a few months,” she said.
The gifts she first received at Compassion’s Foundation, Inc. are things she never will forget. Gifts were donated from surrounding businesses for holidays and a whole closet of toys for the children living there. She said they have a big clothes basket donated by the college students with everything a woman would want, from personal items to hygiene items to snacks. Picking out clothes for a job was incredibly easy because the shelter had things separated by size, she said. “From your underwear to the jacket you might need, they had it,” she said. “And I thoroughly enjoyed being there.”
For last year’s Christmas, Missy remembers an advocate inviting the clients to their home for a lovely meal. While the meal was beautiful, Missy said she was just glad the shelter made her safe. “I would have been ok staying at the shelter eating a ham sandwich than being in an abusive relationship,” she said. “They were so family-oriented. They would not let me feel like I was doing without.”
Missy wants everyone who reads her story to know that help is out there if they are in an abusive situation. She no longer feels worthless as she did when she was in the relationship. She encourages those in and around Magnolia to choose Compassion’s Foundation, Inc. for help. “It’s very humbling to have someone help you,” she said. “If people could get around the fear of change, they could get around being mentally and physically abused.”
To learn more about Compassion’s Foundation, Inc. in Magnolia, AR, please visit this link or call (870) 235-1414.
Many of us have heard of some people leaving their Christmas tree up all year long, but have you ever heard of someone having over 100 trees inside their house? In Magnolia, AR, Casey Souter Munn admits she is a Christmas season fanatic.
It all began about 12 years ago.
“I started out with two trees, then I would add two more trees then got two more,” she said about her ever-expanding collection.
Munn, a secretary at Central Elementary in Magnolia, loves to make children smile with the whimsical seasonal clothing she wears every day in December. During her interview for this story, she was wearing a t-shirt that read “My favorite color is Christmas lights.” She jokingly refers to herself as the Crazy Christmas Lady. A big reason why she chooses to go all out for the holiday is to put smiles on other people’s faces.
“It’s such a joyful time. I love all my trees,” Munn said. “They can turn a bad day around in a heartbeat,” she said.
Decorating the trees has turned into a memorable time full of family tradition. Her husband, Mike, just sits back and grins as his wife shows off her collection. Her son, Jake, 18, helps get all the boxes down from the attic and her daughter, Olivia, 16, helps to fluff the branches so they can be decorated.
“They love everything Christmas. It’s such an important time, and it’s supposed to be magical,” she said.
To make things interesting, Munn has 19 of her trees decorated to a specific theme. To name a few, there’s a family tree, a frou-frou tree, a red and black tree to support the Magnolia Panthers, an owl tree, a cowboy tree complete with turkey feathers and her son’s first cowboy hat, a Mardi Gras tree that stays up through February, a music tree, a butterfly tree in memory of a little girl, and a beach tree that’s full of treasures the family brought back from Florida, Hawaii, and California.
She even has a tree to celebrate her second favorite holiday – Halloween. It’s black and topped with an orange witch’s hat and other spooky ornaments like rubber snakes.
Continuing a Legacy
“My mother also loved Christmas,” Munn said. “I try to continue her legacy.”
Her mother passed away about 20 years ago. The church-themed tree in the living room is where her memory lives on. Large pinecones that belonged to her hang alongside glittery church steeples.
“My mom got them from a pine tree in my Granny Smith’s yard in Taylor many years ago and spray painted some gold,” she explained. “I keep them out in a basket year-round.”
She also honors her mother by hanging snowflake ornaments she hand-crocheted more than 40 years ago.
“Oh, I just love having little parts of her around here,” Munn said. “She has been gone so long, so to have any piece of her at Christmas is wonderful. It makes it feel a little more like she’s here with me.”
Surprisingly, when Munn was growing up, there was only one tree in the family home. It was a real one chopped down from the woods and brought inside to decorate for the memories.
One of her more proud moments is the largest tree in her home. It’s nine-feet tall, and it’s one that she didn’t have to purchase. The only thing it cost her was some pride to dive into a dumpster near the school to rescue it.
“I said, I’m going into the dumpster to get my tree,” she laughed. “I have no idea why someone threw it away, but I’m sure glad they did!”
Luckily, she said it was still in its cardboard box and the lights worked.
“If you were to buy this tree at Hobby Lobby, it would be anywhere from $300 to $500,” she said.
Her husband joked about his petite wife crawling into the dumpster to add to her collection.
“She would have been tickled to death if it would have been an 11-foot,” Mike Munn said.
Ornaments Tell a Story
When asked if she has ever gotten rid of any ornaments because of their age or condition, Munn says absolutely not.
“Oh no, no, no, no, no,” she said. “I have every ornament I’ve ever had in my whole life because every ornament tells a story of some little time of your life.”
Although many of the trees in her home are six-foot, four-foot, and even three-foot, the 10-inch trees in the living room arranged together are also a part of the grand total of 102.
She said she almost didn’t put up the famous collection of trees this year because she was exhausted after recovering from the coronavirus. Her children encouraged her to keep the tradition alive. She said she’s thankful she went ahead and did it. Her home always tends to draw people in with the twinkling of lights and abundance of holiday magic in the air.
“It’s so joyful and it makes me happy,” she said. “I love all my trees!”
When it is time to put them up for the season, Munn relies on the fact that she is “one of the most organized people in the world” to get her seasonal treasures stored until they are brought out again to sparkle and shine once again.
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 ShayleeKeels – 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.
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
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.”
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.
“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.
“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.
After the Thanksgiving turkey leftovers are packed away and the Black Friday scores are piled high, there’s one more reason to celebrate: Small Business Saturday.
What is Small Business Saturday?
Now in its 10th year, Small Business Saturday was started by American Express to show support to the businesses that keep our local economies running: like the small businesses that make Prosper “Prosper.”
Since it began in 2010, Small Business Saturday has become a hit, playing off the popularity of Black Friday the day before and Cyber Monday two days later. This year, Small Business Saturday falls on Nov. 28. So far, the event has brought an estimated $120 billion into local communities – which is great, because according to one study, 68 percent of the money spent at a local business stays in the local economy. Especially this year, small businesses need our support more than ever.
That’s why we’ve put together a list of small businesses in Prosper and neighboring cities. While some won’t be open for in-person visits this year, you can check out all of these local businesses on their websites or social media, which we’ll link to on this post.
Where to shop on Small Business Saturday in Prosper
A Joyful Mess Art Studio: This art studio in downtown Prosper is going all out on its art supplies, craft kits, and homemade “messydoh,” with discounts on upcoming classes and entries into a raffle for a free workshop with each purchase. Find details on their Facebook HERE.
Prosper Pantry: Prosper Pantry is here to save your holiday season with homemade, hand-cooked meals for families on the go. Orders can be placed online up to two business days in advance. Hot and fresh meals are available everyday between 3:30 and 6:30 p.m.
Prosper Laser Med Spa: Located on the corner of Coit and Prosper Trail, Prosper Laser Med Spa is pulling out all the stops this month, with sales on peel packages, Jeuveau units, and laser hair removal. Check out their specials on Facebook HERE.
Bongo Beaux’s Bourre Palace & Cajun Kitchen: Bongo Beaux’s in downtown Celina is the perfect place to fill up on Louisiana classics like jambalaya, gumbo or étouffée, while new takes like the crawfish queso or crawfish pies are a must-try.
Carmela Winery: Named after the family’s Sicilian matriarch, Carmela Winery serves award-winning wines like chardonnay, pinot grigio, and pinot noir in its tasting room off Louisiana Drive in Celina.
Hey Sugar Candy Store: With storefronts in Celina, Decatur, Roanoke, College Station, and Waco, Hey Sugar has your sweet tooth fix ready across the state of Texas. Stop by and check out local favorites like Dublin Texas root beer or retro treats like the Abba Zabba peanut butter taffy bars.
The Crumb & Cookie: Support Prosper’s healthcare heroes like Kristin, who owns The Crumb & Cookie. With decorated cookies and cakes for any occasion, an order of ugly Christmas sweater cookies could be the perfect thing to get you in the holiday spirit.
Toasted Walnut Table and Market: This little bistro in downtown Celina is always serving up our favorite Southern comfort foods, but don’t miss out on the weekly secret menu items like Lollipop Lamb Chops or the Chili Cheeseburger.
Live Beautifully Photography: Local photographer Brandi Mieger shoots everything from weddings to senior portraits, and just added custom notebooks and notecards to her product lineup.
Willow House Boutique: Willow House serves up looks at both locations in downtown Celina and the historic McKinney square. Even better, owners Craig and Kerrie are committed to giving back to the community they love, partnering with a number of local humanitarian organizations.
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.
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.
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.
“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.
“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.
“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.
Farmers Bank & Trust is kicking off the 3rd Annual HEART of the Red, White & Blue military care package drive. For the past two years, we have been able to collect items directly. Due to COVID-19, we are only collecting cash donations from now until Friday, November 13. The money will be used to purchase gift cards for local military families or to create care packages to send to deployed troops.
One complete care package only costs $20 to fill and will last the troops up to two weeks. Cash donations can be dropped off at any Farmers Bank & Trust location. To find a location near you, click here.
“Being deployed and away from family puts you in a lot of mental stress, but that is where the help of the community plays a huge role,” U.S. Air Force Staff Sergeant Bryan Emory said. “Receiving care packages, notes, etc. from people back home gives all of us a sense of relief.”
Emory is from Texarkana, AR, and has a wife, Michelle, and two daughters, Olivia and Ryleigh. He has served our country for ten years and has been deployed on two different occasions.
“When we get to sit down and go through the packages, big or small, and read the notes we are sent, it lets us know that we are appreciated by everyone back home,” he said.
“I can speak for every troop that is, or has been deployed, we greatly appreciate the continued support that we receive from all of you.”
At Farmers Bank & Trust, we support and honor those who have served and are currently serving our country in war or peace. Your sacrifice does not go unnoticed.