How First Arkansas Bank & Trust is Redefining Banking

From record inflation to mounting debt burdens, Americans continue to face a myriad of financial challenges that impact their daily lives and long-term stability.


U.S. household debt is at an all-time high of $17.3 trillion. Meanwhile, auto loan delinquencies hit the highest level in nearly three decades, credit card delinquencies increased by more than 50% last year, and mortgage delinquencies are continuing to tick upwards across all product types.


Consumers are also concerned about their savings and retirement. According to a Bankrate survey, nearly half of adults have less savings or no savings compared with a year ago. Another Bankrate survey found that more than half (56%) of surveyed workers feel they are lagging in saving for retirement and 37% of that group feel they are "significantly behind.”


As the cost of living continues to rise and savings accounts dwindle, consumers are scrutinizing their spending and looking for ways to better budget. They’re also looking for better investment opportunities and shopping for financial products that allow them to take advantage of higher rates. As a result, many banks are seeing a surge in account switching as customers abandon relationships in seek of higher returns.


Banks know this and are looking for ways to differentiate, especially against large, national banks who hold nearly 70% of total assets. In recent years, convenience and digital banking have been primary factors for consumers’ decisions. Community banks have since caught up to those expectations. Today, it’s now a battle for deposits based on the best interest rates.


Many individuals are considering certificate of deposits (CD) as interest rates reach a 20-year record high. These are especially attractive to those with long-term money in savings accounts. The problem is that this money is locked away and inaccessible in an emergency. The big question for most individuals is, how will I pay my bills if I lose my job?


This is a legitimate concern. Last month, layoffs surged to the second-highest level on record. However, this should also be a concern for financial institutions. How will they navigate a potential surge in delinquencies if customers are unable to pay their bills, which are already seeing signs of trouble?


A New Approach to Traditional Banking


In a bold move to reshape the landscape of traditional banking, First Arkansas Bank & Trust (FAB&T) recently introduced its Prime Checking account, aiming to revolutionize the way customers approach everyday banking.


Notably, FAB&T’s checking account features a balance cap of $100,000 compared to the industry average of only $30,000, more than tripling other limits. This will allow our customers to earn more interest on their accounts without the restrictions set on comparable products like CDs.


This is a significant leap from the industry norm, providing our customers with the potential for substantial monthly earnings without sacrificing the conveniences they expect, such as free worldwide ATMs, allowing customers to access their funds conveniently and securely wherever they are, and free online banking with free unlimited bill pay and free mobile banking, providing customers with seamless and convenient access to their accounts.


To earn the 4.75% Annual Percentage Yield (APY)*, customers only need to meet straightforward requirements each statement cycle, including making at least 12 debit card purchases that post and clear; having at least one direct deposit, ACH automatic payment, or online bill pay post and clear; and receiving electronic statements.


Even if customers don't meet the qualification requirements in a statement cycle, there is no penalty. They will still earn a base 0.10% APY and can quickly return to enjoying the full benefits the next qualifying statement cycle.



Commitment to Supporting Customers


Since 1949FAB&T has remained committed to helping individuals and families by offering a range of financial solutions to fit their financial needs. We remain dedicated to advocating for the communities we serve and understand that our customers are looking for more than just a traditional checking account.


According to recent consumer sentiment studies, personal finances remains a top concern among Americans. In fact, nearly three-fourths of consumers are uncomfortable splurging on premium items or taking money out of savings. Meanwhile, Forrester predicts that more consumers will opt to switch savings and checking accounts this year for greater perks.


FAB&T is acutely aware of its customers’ needs and is rethinking how to provide value to customers, helping to not only grow deposits but also drive loyalty and maintain our commitment to outstanding service. Prime Checking is designed to be a game-changer, offering a high interest rate with an expanded balance limit. We believe this account will empower our customers to make the most of their money.


*Annual Percentage Yield effective 10/2023. Rate may change after account opening. No minimum balance required. $100 deposit to open account. Fees may reduce the earnings on the account. Must meet certain requirements. See for details. Member FDIC.


About Author:

Mark Wilson is President and Chief Operating Officer at Jacksonville, Ark.-based FAB&T, a leading financial institution committed to innovation and customer satisfaction. 

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