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With new hire, Simmons First hopes to boost commercial lending

  • The Wichita Eagle
  • Published Tuesday, March 12, 2013, at 11:06 p.m.
  • Updated Wednesday, March 13, 2013, at 8:43 a.m.

Simmons First National Bank, the $1.9 billion Arkansas-based bank that took over the failed Security Savings Bank nearly three years ago, is stepping up its commercial banking business with the hiring of a second commercial lender.

Andrea Scarpelli, Simmons First’s Wichita president, said Tuesday that the bank hired Joshua Smith as vice president and commercial lender. Smith started last week.

A former Emprise Bank employee, Smith joins Guy Wenzel on the local commercial banking team.

Scarpelli, herself a former Bank of America commercial banker, said her expectation for 2013 is to repeat or improve upon what the bank did in commercial loans in Wichita last year.

“We had an over 20 percent increase in actual loan outstandings in 2012,” Scarpelli said. “It’s been a good mix of traditional operating lines of credit, C&I (commercial and industrial), equipment and commercial real estate loans.”

Simmons First’s plan comes as Federal Reserve officials have reported an upswing in commercial lending.

In a meeting in Wichita last week, James Wilkinson of the Kansas City Federal Reserve told members of the Risk Management Association Kansas chapter that commercial and industrial loan activity in the Fed’s 10th District is increasing.

Reach Jerry Siebenmark at 316-268-6576 or jsiebenmark@wichitaeagle.com.

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