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Cole, David, Deanna, Sharon and Brent

(Part 2 of our three-part “March Madness” series)
The brackets are out, the players and coaches are ready, and work production across the U.S. is about to drop like the Fed Funds rate in 2008 (banker joke, sorry) as employees across the country fill out their brackets and tune into some college hoops.

Everyone will have a vested interest, and everyone will have a favorite team.  Even those that don’t care about basketball will venture into the realm of college basketball for a few weeks just to see if they can win a few bucks, and they will win.  We all know “that person” at our office, don’t we?  “Is Villanova somewhere in California?” “Blue Jays are so pretty… Creighton all the way!” “I just picked that team because my Aunt Jane’s daughter’s cousin went to Middle Tennessee State back in the 1990’s.  I can’t believe they keep winning!”

There will be starting fives announced for 67 different games over the next few weeks culminating in the national championship game on April 3rd in Glendale, Arizona.  At First National Bank of NWA, we have our starters as well.  They are our five retail team leaders, and they make up the FNBNWA “starting five.”

Cue the intro music, cut the lights, and start the pyrotechnics!  I’m channeling my inner mid-90’s Chicago Bull announcer…

Located in Bentonville, a 22-year veteran of banking, he can fill a stat sheet, and he knows how to rock a headband, it’s “Smooth Shot” Brent Leas!
Favorite bank product:  Debit Card
Favorite thing about your job:  Meeting great customers and helping with their financial service needs.
Favorite place to visit in NW Arkansas:  Crystal Bridges, Walmart Museum, Lawrence Plaza Water Park/Ice Rink, 21c Museum Hotel, pretty much everything Downtown Bentonville is all you need to see in NWArk
2017 NCAA National Champion pick:  Kentucky  (gotta go w/ our Bentonville star – Malik Monk)

A hard-nosed competitor and a banker for 11 years…She will fight you for a loose ball, and you will find her at our Rogers-Dixieland location or our Centerton location, or sometimes both places at once! That’s the kind of versatility she brings to the team…Deanna Glass!
Family: 3 Daughters, Megan, Shelby AND Lexus and one grandson.
Favorite bank product: @First Checking
Favorite thing about your job: Training my staff and seeing the results
Favorite place to visit in NW Arkansas: Hiking trails
2017 NCAA National Champion pick: Gonzaga

He leads the team in singing in the lobby, bad jokes, and is an athletic freak of nature in his own mind. He’s spent 11 years in banking and leads the Rogers-Pinnacle team as well as manning the commercial services aspect for customers… David Cherry!
Favorite bank product: I’d have to say the Christmas Club. It’s just a little account tucked away that I drop cash in each month to prepare for the holidays.
Favorite thing about your job: I love to visit our customers at their place of business and learn about how they started and made it to where they are today. I’ve learned so much about business and life over the years through the relationships I’ve made with entrepreneurs in our community.
Favorite place to visit in NW Arkansas: Ponca on the Buffalo River. We try to make it several times a year to camp, hike and float.
2017 NCAA National Champion pick: Zags

The heart of the group, this crafty 30-year banking veteran can be found leading the fast break at our Lowell branch and doing all the little things that lead to team success…Sharon Grounds!
Favorite bank product:  Save the change
Favorite thing about your job:  I love our customers
Favorite place to visit in NW Arkansas:  Ozark mountains
2017 NCAA National Champion pick:  Villanova

Our retail team leader in Fayetteville and a banker for the last 10 years, he jumps higher than you’d think, is most likely to take a selfie with your camera, and he makes a mean chili…Cole Hollowell!
Favorite bank product: Online Banking
Favorite thing about your job: People I work with
Favorite place to visit in NW Arkansas: Donald W. Reynolds Razorback Stadium
2017 NCAA National Champion pick: Arizona

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Go Team!

This is the part of the post where I make some clever analogy or some basketball related pun about our starting five being the best starting five in Northwest Arkansas or asking why you’re spending your time with scrubs when you could be working with superstars.  But really what it comes down to, in its most basic form, is that these are five good people (even if too many of them are picking Gonzaga).

I’ve worked at other banks before and still have many friends there. There are good people at every bank, but if you have room in your life for one more good person, then you can’t go wrong by coming into one of our branches and asking for one of our starting five.  Besides, we’re always looking for a good sixth man.  Ahh!  Basketball analogy!  I couldn’t help myself!
Good luck on your bracket!

kylekerwinKyle Kerwin, his wife Rebekah, and their daughter Caroline have called NW Arkansas home since 2001.  He is a front runner so you will find him cheering for the Razorbacks, OU Sooners, and OSU Cowboys at various times throughout the year depending upon how they’re doing.  Kyle enjoys playing golf, reading, writing, watching sports, and he and his family are active members of Keypoint Church.  Kyle’s collegiate basketball career at St. Gregory’s College in Shawnee, Oklahoma, and at Northeastern State University in Tahlequah gets better with every passing year as his memory tells him he was way better than he actually was.  

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