Citizens Bank Strengthens Financial Organization To Help Guide Future Growth, Expansion

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BATESVILLE, Ark. – November 19, 2012 – The Citizens Bank today announced two critical promotions that will allow the bank to fortify its position as an independent community bank, more intensively focus on future expansion, and also strengthen its financial reporting and planning capabilities.

Greg Shaver is being elevated to the position of Executive Vice President and Secretary-Treasurer.  In a related move, Karen E. Shaw has been promoted to Senior Vice President and Chief Financial Officer from Senior Vice President and Loan Review Officer.

“This realignment of talent gives us the opportunity to better utilize Greg Shaver’s tremendous insight and experience, and maximize Karen Shaw’s wealth of knowledge and skills,” said John Dews, Citizens Bank President and Chief Executive Officer.  “We are pleased that Greg will be able to devote more of his time to corporate affairs, including capital planning and strategic growth.  Karen has proven herself to be a true leader who is extremely well qualified to take on this new challenge in her career and for our bank’s future.”

Ms. Shaw will be responsible for the management and supervision of all financial-related activities of the bank.  She also will help develop and coordinate the bank’s strategic plans, financial planning and budgets to guide its future business growth and oversee its general economic outlook.

Shaver, who joined the bank in 1975, has served as Executive Vice President and Chief Financial Officer since 2005.  Ms. Shaw, who is a Certified Public Accountant, has been with Citizens Bank for 10 years and has more than 15 years in banking. An increasing number of banking laws and regulations in recent years – and the reporting requirements that accompanied them – have overwhelmed bank executives, Shaver says, leaving little additional time for effective strategic planning. 

While he intends to continue to be a “workhorse” for Citizens Bank, Shaver said, “It gave me a lot of peace of mind that Karen indicated an interest in assuming this position.  With her talent, knowledge and work ethic, Karen is the perfect person for it.”

As Citizens Bank approaches its 60th anniversary next year, Shaver recalled his experiences when he was hired in 1975 and the bank’s assets totaled $25 million.  Bank founder J. K. Southerland, who was serving as president, insisted on providing a steak dinner to all bank employees every time the bank’s assets grew by another $1 million.  “We started growing so fast, that program didn’t last too long because it became too expensive,” Shaver said, adding that the bank once was named the fastest growing bank in Arkansas.  Today, Citizens Bank’s assets exceed $540 million.

“Citizens Bank is really a phenomenal story,” he said.  “I am proud to know we’ve grown with the community and that we were a large part of facilitating the growth of the community.  That’s why we’re here.  I feel good about what we’ve accomplished and what we’ve built.”

Shaver says the progress of Citizens Bank has been an evolution and he is looking forward to helping Karen Shaw in her new role.  “We think alike in many respects.  I rely on her expertise a lot,” he said.

“I knew from our first interaction that we would work well together – and we have,” Ms. Shaw said.  “This kind of opportunity doesn’t come along every day.  It is a luxury to have spent time with the person who built this organization.  I envision that I will continue to be working with Greg for many years to come.”

Shortly after Ms. Shaw joined the bank in 2003, it expanded into Cave City, Imboden and Mountain View, and she sees additional expansion and growth in the future. 

“We have a great opportunity with great leadership in place to work together and continue to grow the bank and provide excellent customer service,” she said.  “Citizens Bank has taken an active role in the community.  We will lead by example in serving the community, by our people being in the forefront of serving on the boards of charitable organizations and by encouraging all of our employees to give back to our communities.”

Shaver, a lifelong resident of Batesville, received a Bachelor’s degree in Business Administration from the University of Arkansas, with a major in Accounting.  He has served as Treasurer for the “Christmas Brings Hope” organization since 1987.  He and his wife, Debbie, are members of St. Paul’s Episcopal Church in Batesville.  He has two grown children, Allen Shaver, who lives with his wife, Tami, in Rogers and Katie Ahmadzai, who lives with her husband, Khalid, in Batesville.    

Ms. Shaw earned a Bachelor’s degree in Business Administration with Highest Honors in Accounting from the University of Central Arkansas in Conway.  She serves on the Board and is Vice President of Big Brothers Big Sisters of North Central Arkansas, and is a member of the American Institute of Certified Public Accounts, Arkansas Society of CPAs, and North Heights Church of Christ.  She and her husband, Edward Shaw, have two children, Kayla and Collin.

About The Citizens Bank

The Citizens Bank ( was established in 1953 by a group of local businessmen who shared a vision of creating a bank that would be committed to serving the working people of Batesville and Independence County.  Today, Citizens Bank is Independence County’s largest financial institution by market share, and has expanded its service area to include Lawrence, Randolph, Sharp and Stone counties with 10 fully staffed financial centers.

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