Simmons Bank selects local executive to lead Texas Division

Kent Eastman

Simmons Bank has named Kent Eastman executive vice president and Texas Division president. Eastman’s responsibilities will range from overseeing business development and brand awareness to driving community engagement.

The decision to place a local commercial banking leader at the helm of Simmons’ Texas markets follows on the heels of a 2019 naming rights agreement the bank inked with Dickies Arena for the Simmons Bank Plaza and Pavilion, the bank said in a news release.

“Simmons is proud of our rapidly growing presence in Texas and has gained an excellent leader in Kent,” said George Makris Jr., chairman and CEO for Simmons First National Corporation. “Kent’s comprehensive knowledge, visionary leadership and genuine passion for banking will be immeasurably valuable as we capitalize on the opportunities at hand.”

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Chief Banking Officer Matt Reddin said Eastman’s hire spearheads an aggressive growth plan for Simmons’ Texas market, an area that represents the bank’s largest asset base in its seven-state footprint.

With 38 years of banking and management experience, Eastman’s expertise spans from credit and sales leadership to brand management and market development. He most recently served as Texas state president and head of commercial banking for Capital One Bank, overseeing teams in Dallas, Fort Worth, Austin, Houston and San Antonio.

“As a top-100 bank in the country, Simmons’ compelling recent growth is backed by a strong, relationship-focused culture that highlights its community bank roots,” said Eastman. “I’m especially excited to join a company that has so much to offer and contribute here in Texas.”

He was named to D CEO Magazine’s list of most powerful business leaders in Dallas-Fort Worth for five years running (2016-2020).

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He serves as board member for the Texas Association of Business and as vice chairman of the Texas Business Leadership Council. Prior community involvement includes board service for the Texas Bankers Association, North Texas Commission, United Way of Metropolitan Dallas, Baylor Medical Research Center and the Children’s Hospital Foundation.

Eastman holds an undergraduate degree from Tennessee Technological University and a master’s from the University of Tennessee. He graduated from Louisiana State University’s Graduate School of Banking and from the Darden School of Business Leadership Development Program at the University of Virginia.

Former North Texas President Terry Smith, who had joined Simmons with the acquisition of Southwest Bank in 2017, said it was time for the bank to build its own identity in the market.

“Kent will help them do that,” Smith said. “He’ll do a great job.”

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Smith said he is taking some time off and then expects to be back in the market soon.

“I’m looking at some deals right now, but really kind of decompressing,” he said. “I’m going to take some time off for the first time in a long time, but there are several deals out there that look interesting.”

– FWBP Staff