The State Bank Department was created by Act 113 of 1913. The Department is charged with regulating state-chartered commercial banks with main offices in Arkansas. These 73 banks hold assets of over $161 billion as of December 31, 2023. The Department also is charged with supervising the bank holding companies of Arkansas state-chartered banks; state-chartered trust companies; regional and county industrial development corporations; industrial loan institutions; and capital development companies. The Department operates to ensure the safety and soundness of, and public confidence in, these institutions and organizations.
The Department and the State Banking Board have responsibility for the issuance of new charters, authorization of branches, and other applications relating to ownership and structure of banks and bank holding companies.
To maintain the safety and soundness of the banks and bank holding companies for which the Department serves as primary regulator, the agency conducts examinations of these entities regularly. These examinations include on-site evaluation of the adequacy of capital and earnings; the quality of assets; the competency of management (including compliance with federal and state laws and Bank Department rules and regulations, and the adequacy of the audit program and internal controls); the adequacy of liquidity and funds management; and the sensitivity to market risk of the institution's balance sheet and activities. Examinations also are conducted of the trust departments of financial institutions for which the Department is primary regulator. In addition, the Department conducts separate examinations of the information systems of institutions under its jurisdiction to ensure the adequacy of the systems and security of information.
In order to fulfill their statutory responsibilities, the State Banking Board, Bank Commissioner and bank examiners also periodically conduct investigations and hold hearings, as warranted.