ARVEST TOPS $1 BILLION IN MORTGAGE LOANS FOR 13TH STRAIGHT YEAR
Arvest Bank’s mortgage division topped $1 billion in mortgage loans for the 13th consecutive year, the privately held Bentonville-based financial concern recently announced. Arvest reached the $1 billion milestone more than a month earlier this year than it did in 2014 on Aug. 21, closing on a total of 6,380 loans with a value of $1,008,591,434. In 2014, Arvest didn’t hit the $1 billion mark until Sept. 30.
Steven Plaisance, president and CEO of Arvest’s mortage division, said 2015 is the second consecutive year in which purchase money loans account for more of Arvest’s total mortgage loan volume than refinances. Through Aug. 21, purchase money loans accounted for 61% of the company’s total loan volume. That’s up from 33% and 43% in 2012 and 2013, respectively.
Through Aug. 31, 2015, Arvest made 4,110 purchase money loans with a volume of $652,846,736. That’s up from 4,073 loans and $610,847,597 in volume as of Aug. 31, 2014. Arvest’s overall volume is up from $899,843,757 on 6,053 loans as of Aug. 31, 2014. That 17.5% increase is higher than the Mortgage Bankers Association forecast of a 14.9% increase, officials said. The average loan size at Arvest during the period increased from $148,661 to $158,407, reflecting improving values in the real estate market, bank officials said.
GALLUP: CONSUMER CONFIDENCE EBBING WITH STOCK MARKET VOLATILITY
Gallup’s U.S. Economic Confidence Index averaged -14 for the week ending Sept. 6. This is up slightly from the 11-month low of -17 in the prior week, but remains on the lower end of scores found in 2015.
Gallup’s Economic Confidence Index began the year in positive territory for the first time since the recession. This continued the trend of increasing confidence that began in late 2014, following a steady decline in gas prices. As gas prices began to rise in late February, Americans’ confidence in the economy started to fall.
The index remained above -10 until July. It has stayed below that level since — including a -17 score for the week ending Aug. 30, when doubts about China’s economy made the U.S. stock market fall sharply. To view the results of weekly Gallup poll, click here.
SIMMONS FIRST NATIONAL ANNOUNCES PROMOTIONS IN CENTRAL ARKANSAS
Simmons First National Bank has promoted Chris White to community president for central Arkansas, the Pine-Bluff banking group announced last week. The central Arkansas region includes Simmons’ locations in Little Rock, North Little Rock, Benton, Bryant and Cabot.
White will report to Freddie Black, the chairman of the Arkansas region. Simmons also announced that Robert E. “Bob” Burnside has joined the bank as the Arkansas region’s senior credit officer. Burnside will report to Steve Wade, the chief credit officer.
SEC ANNOUNCES FRAUD IN CHINESE STOCK MANIPULATION SCHEME
The Securities and Exchange Commission has announced fraud charges against a Wall Street CEO and his company, family members, and business associates accused of secretly obtaining control and manipulating the stock of Chinese companies they were purportedly guiding through the process of raising capital and becoming publicly-traded in the U.S.
The SEC alleges that Benjamin Wey and New York Global Group typically structured reverse mergers between clients and publicly-traded shell companies in such a way that he and other family members secretly obtained ownership interests of more 5% of the newly listed companies. To avoid detection and evade SEC reporting requirements as beneficial owners, they divided their shares among a vast network of foreign accounts and generated tens of millions of dollars in illegal profits as they sold the securities into artificially inflated markets. The illicit profits eventually circled back to Wey and his wife, who used the money to finance a lavish lifestyle.