Bank OZK’s roots date back to its establishment as a small community bank in Jasper, Arkansas, in 1903. However, our modern-day history truly began in 1979, when George Gleason, a 25-year-old attorney, purchased controlling interest in Bank of Ozark, a bank with $28 million in assets and two locations in rural Arkansas. Since that time, the Bank has grown to $27 billion in assets, with more than 2,800 employees and over 250 offices in eight states.
At Bank OZK, we strive to build on our community bank heritage by combining high ethical standards with innovative technologies to deliver truly exceptional service to our clients and communities. We are committed to implementing new ideas and cultivating relationships that encourage our communities, large and small, to grow and thrive.
We believe that small businesses are the anchors of our economy, bringing jobs, growth and innovation to our communities, and we aim to support those businesses with customized and personalized lending, as well as with enhanced deposit and payment services and tools. These offerings, along with excellent client-focused service, help each client achieve their full potential and help our local communities remain vibrant.
While our focus has always been helping the communities in which we serve, at Bank OZK, we are also changing the skylines in the largest cities across the United States. In 2003, Real Estate Specialties Group (“RESG”), based in Dallas, Texas, was formed with the goal of originating high-quality commercial real estate and construction, land and development loans on marquee real estate projects across the Bank’s footprint. Since its establishment, RESG has become the preeminent construction lender in the nation focusing on high-quality, complex projects in the largest cities in the U.S., while maintaining industry-leading underwriting standards. RESG’s significant expertise in real estate construction lending, conservative business practices and diversified portfolio of quality assets is a hallmark of the Bank.
On his first day as Chairman and CEO in 1979, Mr. Gleason gathered the Bank’s 28 employees and told them the Bank might never become the largest bank in the state, but if they worked hard and pursued excellence each and every day, he was certain it could become the best bank in Arkansas. Under Mr. Gleason’s leadership and our employees’ unwavering commitment to excellence, we’ve not only grown to be the largest bank in Arkansas, but we have also repeatedly been named one of the best banks in the entire country. Bank OZK has been recognized 13 times as the #1 performing bank in the United States in our asset size, by leading industry publications. In 2021, we were named as the #1 bank in Bank Director's Performance Powerhouses Study, a testament to our strength, stability and focus on innovation. Additionally, Money named Bank OZK “Best Bank in the South” for 2019-2020, and Forbes named Bank OZK to “America’s Best Banks” and “World’s Best Banks” in 2019 and again in 2020, a tribute to our innovative service offerings and outstanding service delivery.
The foundation of the Bank’s continued success has been, and always will be, centered on our adherence to the cornerstone values of personal commitment to excellence, fair dealing and exceptional customer service. Our mission is to be the best banking organization and corporate citizen in each of the communities we serve, and we do so every day by following The OZK Way.