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Arvest began as a small bank more than 50 years ago and has since expanded into a group of community banks throughout Arkansas, Missouri, Oklahoma and Kansas. Arvest has more than 270 locations that are part of 16 locally managed banks in 120 communities. According to the FDIC, total assets now exceed $15 billion. Arvest is a full-service bank with both personal and business services and offers business loans up to $350,000.

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The Good

  • Preferred lender
  • Established bank
  • SBA loans

Preferred Lender

Arvest is in the "Preferred Lenders Program," which is part of Small Business Administration's (SBA) effort to streamline the procedures necessary to provide financial assistance to the small business community. Arvest offers a variety of business financing options, including SBA loans, commercial lines and loans, and commercial real estate.

Established Bank, Local Business

Arvest operates in nearly 300 locations, and each branch is locally managed. With each Arvest bank operating under its own president and board, Arvest is able to offer the appeal of a community bank. In addition, Arvest banks are extremely active and involved in local communities.

The Bad

  • Lengthy application process
  • Customer complaints
  • Lack of transparency

Lengthy Application Process

The initial application for a business loan with Arvest is seven pages long and requests a lot of information, including personal/business financial summary, detailed accounts of all business debt and a list of collateral. According to an Arvest representative, the time from application submission to funding can take up to one month-longer than many other lenders.

Customer Complaints

While Arvest touts integrative merchant services for business owners, many online customer complaints cite a terrible online banking system. The bulk of these complaints revolves around the system's difficulty to maneuver through the user experience.

Lack of Transparency

Arvest's website has a page dedicated to "rates" of business loans and lines of credit, but upon landing on this page, visitors are prompted to call or visit their local branch. In addition, rates apparently differ based on geographical location and other factors.

The Bottom Line

Potential clients of Arvest should plan to invest a lot of time in the initial phases of acquiring a loan. From digging for exact loan terms (not available on the website) with an Arvest banker to filling out the application and waiting on funds, choosing Arvest is neither quick nor easy. Because of their lack of information, we do not recommend working with Arvest at this time.

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