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.


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.

Sixth-grader Tatum Carter of Magnolia, Arkansas is into showing sheep and goats, and she doesn’t mind getting dirty doing it.

But the show world is an expensive one and with four sheep and four goats to care for, she has become no stranger to business adding entrepreneur to her list of accomplishments by creating Tatum’s Tasty Treats. The business, operating under that name on Facebook, allows Tatum to sell a variety of pies, cakes, and chocolate chip cookie bars by receiving orders and selling them by displaying pictures of her baked goodies.

It’s all in an effort to support her goats Bernard, Saltine, Cheddar, and Juanita. Her sheep are named Reba, Kenny Rogers, Dolly, and Big Mac. With these guys and girls, she hopes to win buckles, banners, ribbons, and even money sometimes. She and her dad, Micah Carter, a pastor at Calvary Baptist Church in Magnolia, try to make all local shows and go out of state as often as possible. Showings leading up to state fairs are considered the season ball games and playoffs, but the state fair is considered the super bowl of showing animals.

Tatum’s business is a result of COVID-19 and being stuck in the house with time, her imagination, and her small yet capable hands.

“I always liked baking, but I really wanted to start baking since the quarantine,” Tatum, 11, said.

She claims she has watched the Food Network show “Kids Baking Championship,” and YouTube cooking series featuring baker Rosanna Pansino but she mostly taught herself through trial and error. She said her mom Julie Carter is a good cook, but she isn’t much into baking.

Tatum said some recipes taste good the first time she makes them, but the success of others remains elusive.

“The brownie truffles were just a hot mess,” she said. 

Tatum’s father said he wasn’t sure if it was the quarantine causing the burst of orders, but he was awfully proud of what his daughter was doing.

“It just blew up,” Carter said. “There were 500 likes on (Facebook) in one night.”

Some of the specialty treats Tatum makes are vanilla pound cake, lemon and blueberry pound cake, miniature lemon and strawberry pies, and ice cream pies. She has even jumped into making birthday cakes with buttercream icing.

The Big Purchase

Tatum’s first large amount of money she earned was $1,800, and it went toward the purchase of a treadmill so the goats and sheep could get some exercise. The treadmill is long and has sides as tall as the animals, so they’re able to walk a straight path without getting sidetracked.

“Tatum’s show animals are much like athletes,” her mother shared on Facebook. “The harder they train, the better they are, and the better she will do with them. Treadmill work is part of the process. I can’t tell you how proud she is to have this.”

The orders have slowed down now that school has reopened. Carter said that was a good thing because his daughter is still a child and needed a break. He said during the busiest days at the beginning of the business she would wake up baking and the oven would not be turned off until 9 o’clock at night.

Tatum said she’s thankful for the support she has received during her new business venture and showing her animals. Robert McDonald of Southern Title & Closing in Magnolia gave Tatum her first big corporate order. She said McDonald and his wife, Kristal, also gave her tips on showing goats.

Carter said the family is grateful for Mike and Karon Reynolds of Pin Oak Club Lambs in Greenbrier, Arkansas who were also instrumental in helping Tatum learn about showing sheep.

Carter said he is certainly proud that his daughter is helping pay for the high cost of showing which includes feed, hay, and immunizations which must be given often to prevent the animals from getting sick as they are prone to in muggy Arkansas weather.

“I’m proud of the lessons she has learned from running her own business, making her own money, and buying her own equipment,” he said.

Tatum has gathered quite the array of awards for showing livestock but ask anyone in Magnolia who has purchased one of her “tasty treats” and they’d tell you her baking skills deserve an award too.

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.”


That’s “welcome” in Spanish since we’re welcoming in National Hispanic Heritage Month this Tuesday, September 15. 

National Hispanic Heritage Month, signed into law by President Ronald Reagan in 1988, runs annually from September 15 to October 15 to honor the rich history, culture, and contributions of Hispanics and Latinos in the United States. 

The holiday began as a week-long celebration in 1968, when Texas’ own President Lyndon B. Johnson launched the event to coincide with several Latin American countries’ Independence Days, like Costa Rica, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras, Nicaragua, Mexico, Chile, and Belize. Texans know the importance Hispanics have had in the region – especially since Texas was part of Mexico until 1836!  

According to U.S. Census Bureau estimates, about 39% of Texans identified as Hispanic in 2018, and around 7 million speak Spanish at home. The Latino population in Texas is only growing and is expected to become the largest population group in the next few years. 

This growth can be seen in Prosper as well, where Hispanics make up around 8% of a population that’s tripled in size in the past decade. And this year, though it may look different than previous years, local Latinos are ready to celebrate National Hispanic Heritage Month.  

“Hispanic Heritage Month is an opportunity for Hispanics to be proud of where we come from,” said Herb Moncibais, chairman of the Americas Chamber for Business. “I think it’s an opportunity for us to showcase our achievements and our accomplishments, and our ability to adapt to challenges.” 

One of those challenges being business closures in recent months due to shelter-in-place orders. “Small businesses need money right now, we all know that,” Moncibais said. This National Hispanic Heritage Month, Moncibais recommends patronizing local Hispanic-owned businesses to help speed up economic recovery. 

Shop Local

We’ve compiled some of the top Hispanic- and Latino-owned spots in town. Take a look and try them out!

Lucy’s on the Square: A favorite Hispanic-owned spot in the area has to be Lucy’s on the Square, in downtown Celina. Serving Southern classics like fried green tomatoes, chicken fried steak, and biscuits and gravy, Lucy’s on the Square is a popular place for a reason.


New day, new morning, new colors. Do you like it?#freshblue #lucysonthesquare #homecooking #homemadepies #morefamilytalk

Posted by Lucy's on the Square on Saturday, September 5, 2020


Rudy’s Kitchen: Rudy Martinez, who was born in Mexico, specializes in home-cooked meals, including a menudo recipe passed down by his grandmother. At Rudy’s in Frisco, don’t miss out on the enchiladas, caldo de res, or the picadillo plate.


Posted by Rudy's Kitchen on Friday, January 1, 2016


Alma’s Sweet Treats and Catering: Alma Espinoza frequently caters events in the North Texas area with her fruit and dessert tables, balloon decorations, and Mexican treats like gelatinas, tres leches cake, and buñuelos.


Posted by Alma's sweet treats and Catering on Monday, April 16, 2018


If you’re a Latino business owner looking to get connected in the area, Moncibais recommends joining an organization like the Americas Chamber for Business. “As a Latino, the chamber has opened a lot of doors, it’s opened a lot of resources for me,” he said. “This is an opportunity, a two-way door. It’s a chance for us to help each other.”  

And while some in-person events may still be on pause, the Americas Chamber for Business invites anyone interested to join them for the 2020 Immigrant Journey Awards online this Thursday, September 17, to honor immigrants who have made an impact on the North Texas community. 


Este martes, 15 de septiembre estamos dando la bienvenida al Mes Nacional de la Herencia Hispana

El Mes Nacional de la Herencia Hispana se formó como ley por el presidente Ronald Reagan en 1988, y se conmemora del 15 de septiembre al 15 de octubre de cada año. Su propósito es honrar la rica historia, cultura, y contribuciones de los hispanos y latinos en los Estados Unidos.

El mes festivo empezó como una celebración de una sola semana en 1968, cuando el presidente Lyndon B. Johnson, un tejano, lanzó el evento para coincidir con los días de independencia de varios países latinoamericanos, como Costa Rica, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras, Nicaragua, México, Chile, y Belice. Como tejanos, nosotros conocemos bien la importancia de los hispanos en la región – ¡particularmente porque Texas fue parte de México hasta 1836!

De acuerdo con las cifras de la Oficina del Censo de EE.UU, casi el 39% de los tejanos se identificaron como hispanos en 2018, y alrededor de 7 millones hablan español en casa. La población latina en Texas sigue creciendo, y se estima que va a ser el grupo más grande de la población en unos años. 

Este crecimiento se ve en Prosper también, donde los hispanos forman casi el 8% de una población que se ha triplicado en la última década. Aunque este año parezca muy distinto a los anteriores, los latinos en el área están listos para festejar el Mes Nacional de la Herencia Hispana. 

“El Mes Nacional de la Herencia Hispana es una oportunidad para los hispanos, para que seamos orgullosos de donde somos”, dijo Herb Moncibais, el director de la Americas Chamber for Business. “Creo que es una oportunidad para nosotros, para mostrar nuestros logros y nuestro éxito, y para mostrar nuestra habilidad de adaptarnos a los retos que enfrentamos.” 

Uno de esos retos ha sido el cierre de muchas empresas este año debido a la orden “Quédate en casa”. “Las empresas pequeñas necesitan más ingresos ahora, todos lo sabemos”, dijo Moncibais. Durante este Mes Nacional de la Herencia Hispana, Moncibais recomienda frecuentar comercios dirigidos por hispanos en el área para apoyar la economía local.  

Comprar localmente

Hemos recopilado una lista de algunos de nuestros lugares favoritos que pertenecen a los hispanos y latinos de la ciudad. ¡Échales un ojo y pruebalos!

Lucy’s on the Square: Uno de nuestros restaurantes favoritos tiene que ser Lucy’s on the Square en el centro de Celina, cuyo sitio es administrado por un hispano. Sirven clásicos del sur de Estados Unidos, como tomates fritos, milanesas, y bisquets con salsa gravy. Lucy’s on the Square es muy popular, ¡con razón!

Rudy’s Kitchen: Rudy Martinez, quien nació en México, se especializa en comida casera mexicana, donde incluye la receta de menudo de su abuela. No te pierdas la experiencia de probar las enchiladas, el caldo de res, o el picadillo. 

Alma’s Sweet Treats and Catering: En la zona del Norte de Texas, Alma Espinoza frecuentemente brinda sus servicios en eventos con Alma’s Sweet Treats and Catering. Proporciona opciones como sus mesas de dulces y frutas, decoraciones de globos y postres mexicanos cómo gelatinas, pasteles de tres leches, y buñuelos. 

Si eres latino y dueño de una empresa y te quieres conectar con otros en el área, Mocibais recomienda mucho formar parte de una organización como la Americas Chamber for Business. “Cómo latino, la cámara ha abierto muchas puertas para mi, me ha dado muchos recursos”, dijo. “Esta es una oportunidad, una puerta de dos vías. Es una oportunidad para ayudarnos a nosotros”. 

Y mientras que muchos eventos en persona siguen en pausa, la Americas Chamber for Business está invitando a todos los interesados en asistir virtualmente a los 2020 Immigrant Journey Awards en linea este jueves, 17 de septiembre, para honrar a los migrantes que han tenido un impacto en la comunidad del Norte de Texas.  

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