Our Story


Banking Through The Generations

Ben Wood and Bennett Harrell1906

As the newly formed town of Harrell blossomed, Ben Wood saw the town's growing need for a bank. He quickly recruited his nephew, Bennett Harrell, who at the time was working for the Wells Fargo Express Company in St. Louis, to join him in running the new bank. Bennett was reluctant to accept his uncle's offer, explaining that he had only been in two banks in his entire life. Ben assured him that, together, they would learn and operate a bank built to serve the community.

The Bank in 19071907

With grit, grace, and the hospitality of the Harrell family, Calhoun County Bank opened its doors on October 8, 1907, with customers depositing $628.27 on the first day.

The vault in 19291929

Following the stock market crash of 1929, worried depositors caused runs on banks across the country. Concerned that the same would eventually play out in Calhoun County, Bennett Harrell consulted his Uncle Ben, the well-known and respected owner of Wood Mercantile in Harrell. Uncle Ben assured Bennett that he was leaving his money in the bank and that he would use his influence to assure others they should do the same. 

It wasn’t long before the first customer came in to withdraw $65. As Bennett Harrell prepared the check and counted out the cash, the customer tore it up, saying that as long as he could get his money, he was satisfied and didn’t need it.

The Bank president in 19331933

Calhoun County Bank was selected as one of the first banks in Arkansas to reopen after the Bank Holiday declared by President Franklin D Roosevelt. Of the four banks operating in Calhoun County in 1928, Calhoun County Bank was the only surviving bank just two years later.  

The bank in Hampton in 19381938

After graduating college, Bennett Harrell's son, Searcy Harrell, Sr., met with the state bank commissioner, who recommended the bank move to the neighboring town of Hampton. After compiling data on its current customers, the bank determined that 70% of its customer base came from Hampton. Hence, the bank agreed to make the move. After 31 years and three days of operating in Harrell, the bank opened the doors to its new home in Hampton. 

The Bank in 19391939

At this time, Calhoun County had a free-range law allowing livestock to roam freely around the town. When the bank built the new branch in Hampton, they installed a fence around it to protect the rose bushes from local livestock. The bank was then featured in Robert L. Ripley's "Believe It or Not" as the only bank in the United States with a cattle fence around it. The bank later took down the fence after the city passed a stock law in 1953.

Ben Wood and Bennett Harrell1943

Ben Wood stepped down from the role of President, allowing for the second generation of Harrell family members, Bennett Harrell, to step into the role.

The Bank in 19451945

As World War II raged on, Calhoun County Bank saw record-setting changes. The bank experienced a staggering 350% growth from 1942 to 1947, reaching one million dollars in assets during that time.

The Bank in 19531953

The Hampton branch went through its first remodel, replacing fixtures and furniture purchased second-hand when the bank opened in 1907. As a result of the remodel, the bank installed the first drive-thru teller window in South Arkansas.

The Bank in 19571957

In celebration of the bank's 50th anniversary, the bank added a chime clock to the outside corner of the building. On the hour, the clock chimed the sixteen notes of the "Westminster" chimes. A prayer was written to fit these sixteen notes: "Lord, through this hour, be thou our guide so, by thy power, no foot shall slide." The clock served as a reminder to members and visitors of the community that the bank always had time for them on the inside of the bank as well.

Bennett Harrell and Searcy Harrell, Sr.1961

Bennett Harrell stepped down as President, making way for the third generation, Searcy Harrell, Sr., to step into the role of President of the bank.

Searcy Harrell, Sr. and Len Harrell1983

After a 22 year tenure as President, Searcy Harrell, Sr. became the bank's first Chairman and CEO. His brother, Len Harrell, stepped into the role of President until 1984, when Dick Neal joined the bank. During Searcy's time as President, the bank reached $20 million in assets and celebrated 75 years of business.

Calhoun County Bank and First Bank of South Arkansas1993

Calhoun County Bank and First Bank of South Arkansas become sister banks under a newly formed holding company, Harrell Bancshares, Inc. Searcy Harrell, Jr., becomes Chairman of the Board for Harrell Banchshares, Inc. A year later, First Bank of South Arkansas acquired the branch offices of First Financial Savings and Loan in Camden.

Searcy Harrell, Jr.2003

Searcy Harrell, Jr., became President of Calhoun County Bank and First Bank of South Arkansas.

First Bank of South Arkansas a division of Calhoun County Bank2005

First Bank of South Arkansas and Calhoun County Bank joined under one charter, making First Bank of South Arkansas a division of Calhoun County Bank.

Phil Foster2006

Phil Foster became President of Calhoun County Bank and its division, First Bank of South Arkansas. Searcy Harrell, Jr., remained Chairman of the Board.

The Bank team in 20072007

Calhoun County Bank celebrates 100 years of business.

First Bank2010

Calhoun County Bank and First Bank of South Arkansas merged under the new name of First Bank. First Bank moves into Northwest Arkansas by acquiring two branches, Rogers and Siloam Springs, from Signature Bank.

Jon Harrell2013

Jon Harrell steps into the role of Chairman of the Board, becoming the fifth generation of Harrell family members to lead the bank.

First Bank of South Arkansas2014

First Bank acquires First Community Bank of Crawford County in Van Buren. Establishing a presence in the River Valley for the first time.

The Fayetteville Branch in 20152015

After initially opening the doors to a Loan Production Office in 2013, a new full-service branch in Fayetteville was opened shortly in 2015 as the bank continued to grow its footprint in NWA.

Generations Bank2016

First Bank rebrands to Generations Bank to honor the bank's rich history under the Harrell family's leadership and recognize the generations of customers they've served. A short year later, the bank celebrates reaching $500 million in assets, a significant milestone.

Joe Ruddell2019

The bank relocated its charter from Hampton to Rogers, making Generations Bank the only bank in Arkansas chartered in Rogers. Phil Foster retires from his position as President, and Joe Ruddell is named President of the bank.

The Bentonville Branch in 20212021

With the COVID-19 Pandemic creating unprecedented times filled with uncertainty, customers and community members again leaned on the bank for strength and stability. Amid the uncertainty, Generations Bank opened a Bentonville branch in 2021. As most banks had closed their doors, the first four months of operations in Bentonville were drive-thru only. The branch officially opened its lobby for the first time in May of 2021.

The Kimberling City Branch in 20222022

Generations Bank acquired the Kimberling City branch from Arvest, making it the first Missouri branch in the history of the bank.

Our Leadership Team

Jon Harrell

Jon Harrell

CEO & Chairman of the Board

NMLS# 788898

Joe Ruddell

Joe Ruddell


NMLS# 1082863

Sandy Ferguson

Sandy Ferguson

Chief Risk Officer

Alana Girard

Alana Girard

Chief Operations Officer

Max Harrell

Max Harrell

Chief Growth Officer

NMLS# 1768408

Michael Hoggard

Michael Hoggard

Chief Financial Officer

Bryant Penzo

Bryant Penzo

Chief Strategy Officer

August Rusher

August Rusher

Chief Lending Officer

NMLS# 793577

It’s more than just a job… find your career at Generations Bank