Representatives with Simmons First National and Landmark Bank said customers can expect a smooth transition as the two banks begin the process of merging. The Arkansas-based company announced Wednesday that it would be merging with The Landrum Company, parent company of Landmark Bank.


Officials with both banks said the transition, which is expected to run through the first quarter of 2020, should not require much work on the part of customers. However, the effects should be minimal for local customers in Texas and Oklahoma, representatives from both companies said.


“When I looked at Simmons, I thought we were looking in the mirror because they are very similar to Landmark Bank,” Landmark Bank President and CEO Kevin Gibbens said in an exclusive interview with the Herald Democrat. “They do all the things we do, only bigger.”


With the transition, Simmons will begin the process of absorbing Landmark into the Simmons network, which should be completed in early 2020. During the interim, Landmark business will continue uninterrupted as it operates as a bank subsidiary of Simmons.


The biggest effect many customers will see is new cards, checks and other banking materials that will be issued under the Simmons banner. However, Simmons Chairman and CEO George Makris Jr. said this will be handled internally and customers do not need to do anything ahead of the changeover.


Makris said a very small number of customers may need to change their bank account number due to duplications between Simmons and Landmark. However, he said that is expected to affect few.


The two banks have covered generally the same geographic area, but do not have any markets that they directly compete in. This will allow the bank to retain all of its branches without the need to close any locations.


“We hope it is going to be a real benefit,” Makris Jr. said. “Over the course of the past five years, our products and services have grown and grown … It is because of the many banks we’ve partnered with in that time had some really good products that we’ve been able to deploy across our system.”


In the case of Landmark, Makris said one of those products is the bank system’s Interactive Teller Machines, which began rolling out about three years ago. The technology allows customers to interact with a teller through video. This also has allowed Landmark to extend its hours of service for customers, Gibbens said.


“Simmons will have the benefit of the experience Landmark has with this technology,” Makris said.


With regard to Landmark, Gibbens said the merger would allow its customers access to technology and features of the Simmons network. Many of these features were things Landmark has been considering, but he said the merger expedites the process.


Landmark customers will also gain access to Simmons’ national credit card network, which features more than $200 million in customer credit. Business customers can expect to see an increase in lending limits under the Simmons transition, Makris added.


Makris could not rule out the possibility of layoffs on either side of the merger as positions overlap or are replicated. However, he anticipated it would primarily be back end and administrative positions that could be affected.