Brock: Arkansas delegates agree to reopen government

All six members of Arkansas’ Congressional delegation voted for a Senate-sponsored measure to reopen the federal government and to extend the nation’s debt ceiling limit after nearly three weeks of high-stakes political wrangling. The measure approved by the U.S. House and U.S. Senate would fund the federal government and increase the Treasury Department’s borrowing power to $16.7 trillion. President Obama signed the bill into law late Wednesday night.


Beebe appoints Frank Scott to highway commission

Arkansas Gov. Mike Beebe (D) named Frank Scott, Jr., of Little Rock to the Arkansas Highway Commission. The appointment expires Jan. 14, 2017. He replaces John Burkhalter, who resigned from the commission to pursue a run for lieutenant governor.

Scott, 29, a bank executive with First Security Bank, grew up in Little Rock and holds a MBA in strategic management from the University of Arkansas at Little Rock. He also sits on the boards of directors for the Little Rock Port Authority and Big Brothers/Big Sisters of Central Arkansas. Beginning in 2007, Scott spent five years on Gov. Beebe’s policy staff, and was serving as his Director of Intergovernmental Affairs when he left for his current job.

Home Bancshares posts 10th consecutive record quarter

For two-and-a-half years, it’s been the same song, different verse. Home Bancshares, Inc., parent company of Centennial Bank, announced record third quarter profits of $18.36 million compared to $16.1 million a year ago. The Conway-based financial institution increased its third quarter earnings by $2.3 million or 14.1 percent for the three months ended Sept. 30, 2013, compared to the same period of the previous year. Net income is likely to set more records in the future as Home Bancshares completes its $280 million buyout of Jonesboro-based Liberty Bancshares later this year.

Simmons First posts net income rise

Simmons First National Corp. posted third quarter net income of $6.93 million, an increase from one year ago when profits topped $6.76 million. The Pine Bluff-based bank warned that it would encounter one-time expenses in the near future, in large part due to its $53 million acquisition of Little Rock-based Metropolitan National Bank.

In early September, Simmons First National Corporation placed the winning bid for Metropolitan National Bank, as a result of Metropolitan’s parent company, Rogers Bancshares, bankruptcy proceeding. The $53.6 million acquisition of the bank is expected to close in December.

USA Truck shrinks quarterly loss

Under siege in a hostile takeover bid, USA Truck reported a significantly smaller third quarter net loss than one year ago, citing turnaround improvements paying off. The Van Buren-based trucking company posted a $602,000 net loss compared to a $6.07 million loss one year ago. Revenues for USA Truck climbed higher by 13.5 percent to $113.9 million during the quarter ended Sept. 30, 2013.

J.B. Hunt sees gains in third quarter

J.B. Hunt Transport Services posted strong quarterly returns as net income rose 14 percent to $89.47 million in the third quarter. Total revenue rose to $1.435 billion, up 10.8 percent. The Lowell-based transportation firm saw growth in its intermodal and dedicated contract services division, but its truckload division saw declines in revenue and profits.

Lockheed Martin wants to locate vehicle production in Camden

Lockheed Martin says it will move production of a tactical vehicle it makes for the U.S. Army and Marine Corps to Camden, but the deal still has to jump through several hoops. State economic officials said the U.S. Department of Defense will likely have to be comfortable with the move, and the state is expected to contribute toward infrastructure and work force training investments.

Lockheed Martin announced Monday (Oct. 13) that it will move production of its Joint Light Tactical Vehicle (JLTV) to an assembly line at the company’s Camden manufacturing complex. The company said it expects to gain “significant production efficiencies and cost reductions.” A dollar figure for the investment and the number of jobs it would produce were not disclosed, but it is expected to result in millions of dollars of investment and hundreds of new jobs in southern Arkansas.

Roby Brock, a freelance journalist based in Little Rock, writes weekly for the Arkansas News Bureau. His weekly television program airs at 10 p.m. Sundays in Central and Northwest Arkansas. His e-mail address is; his website address is