March 28, 2023

Then & Now: Bartholomew glad to be NWA banker once more

Editor’s Word: The next story appeared within the Dec. 5 situation of the Northwest Arkansas Enterprise Journal. “Then & Now” is a profile of a previous member of the Enterprise Journal’s Forty Beneath 40 class.


Earlier this yr, Batesville-based First Neighborhood Financial institution employed Natalie Bartholomew to guide its entry into the Northwest Arkansas market as group president for Rogers and Northwest Arkansas.

Throughout a latest interview, the 40-year-old Bartholomew stated she is correct the place she’s meant to be, although the highway to First Neighborhood could have been totally different than she imagined.

“If you happen to had informed me seven years in the past that my profession path would appear to be it did, I might by no means have believed you,” she stated. “However I don’t remorse any [career] change I’ve made. They’ve all helped me as a banker and chief and given me alternatives for which I’m extraordinarily grateful.”

Bartholomew, whose household has deep roots in Prairie Grove, is a fifth-generation Northwest Arkansas resident and a regional banker for greater than 20 years. She started her profession as a part-time teller for Arvest Financial institution when she was 18 and spent a dozen years with the corporate.

In 2013, Bartholomew took a job at First Nationwide Financial institution of NWA as vp of personal banking and advertising and marketing, the place she helped the financial institution transition to a brand new identify and emblem below new management.

The Northwest Arkansas Enterprise Journal included her in its annual Forty Beneath 40 listing two years later.

In February 2017, Bartholomew joined Grand Financial savings Financial institution as a business lender and chief advertising and marketing officer. The corporate promoted her to vp and chief administrative officer in January 2019.

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Earlier than becoming a member of First Neighborhood this previous summer time, Bartholomew spent 9 months working remotely because the chief influence officer at Residents Financial institution of Edmond (Okla.)

She was desirous to return to boots-on-the-ground work in Northwest Arkansas however didn’t low cost the short-term expertise in Oklahoma.

“I’ve been very lucky to have made some nice connections, paired with advocating for myself and dealing laborious to have the alternatives to do some nice issues with some nice banks,” she stated. “All of them have been nice experiences of studying. Issues have gone just a little in a different way than I anticipated, however I’m extraordinarily pleased with it.”

Bartholomew stated First Neighborhood Financial institution has the connections and relationships to achieve success in Northwest Arkansas. The 25-year-old firm opened a full-service department in October in Rogers’ Pinnacle Hills space and can broaden regionally over time.

Bartholomew stated there are 9 First Neighborhood workers out there with companies to help retail banking, business lending, mortgage help and mortgage origination. The financial institution may even quickly rent a treasury administration officer.

“Once we say a full-service financial institution, we’ve got the capability to try this,” she stated. “We could also be a brand new model to Northwest Arkansas, however the faces and individuals are not new. We’ve had excellent mortgage and deposit progress, and good issues are coming for us. We’ve the help and empowerment from our workforce in Batesville to try this.”

In November 2017, Bartholomew launched The Lady Banker weblog, advocating for girls in banking, working mothers and group banking. Quite a few banking publications have featured the favored platform. With out in search of them out, the venture has made Bartholomew a sought-after speaker for trade conferences and conventions nationally.

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“It actually is a nationwide platform that has reached throughout the nation and exceeded my expectations,” she stated. “The stunning component that perhaps I underestimated was the extent of group that the platform offered. I is likely to be the face of it, but it surely’s not about me. It’s about creating an advocacy area for girls within the trade and altering the narrative for younger ladies contemplating careers in banking. Many younger ladies aren’t, so we nonetheless have some work to do to vary that narrative.”

Bartholomew stated new choices forward for The Lady Banker embody month-to-month Fb Stay segments, a e-newsletter and an up to date web site.

With a household and two lively boys (ages 12 and 6) enjoying sports activities, a market entry to guide and the Lady Banker platform to attend, Bartholomew stated she is conscious of managing her time.

“I don’t consider within the phrase ‘work-life stability,’” she stated. “Typically I’m leaning into work, and typically I’m leaning into household. You’ll be able to’t be completely balanced. It’s inconceivable. I’ve an excellent help system, and I wouldn’t be the place I’m at and doing what I do with out the supportive partner I’ve.”