Business and People Notes January 2020

Arvest Bank announes the promotion of Cara James to chief risk officer, effective Jan. 1.
James will replace Bob Kelly, who is retiring after more than 30 years with Arvest, effective Dec. 31.
James recently served as senior vice president and chief compliance officer, a role she held at two other financial institutions before joining Arvest in 2013. James has specialized in compliance management since 1992, working in consumer protection regulation, as well as duties related to the Community Reinvestment Act and Bank Secrecy Act.
James previously worked as an auditor for a financial institution and at both regional and international public accounting firms. In her new role as chief risk officer, James will have overall responsibility for Arvest’s corporate risk management policies.
“Cara’s background and wealth of knowledge make her an ideal fit for this position,” Arvest president and CEO Kevin Sabin said. “While the chief risk officer’s role is largely a behind-the-scenes one, it is of critical importance and I am confident Cara will handle it in the exceptional manner she has displayed since joining Arvest.”
James earned a bachelor’s degree in accounting from Oklahoma State University and is both a Certified Public Accountant and Certified Regulatory Compliance Manager. Additionally, she is a member and past chairperson of the American Bankers Association’s Regulatory Compliance Conference Advisory Board.
James will be based in Tulsa.
During Kelly’s time at Arvest, he has played a key role in its transformation from a Northwest Arkansas-only bank into a regional enterprise with more than 260 locations serving more than 135 communities throughout Arkansas, Kansas, Missouri and Oklahoma.
“Bob has been an invaluable part of the Arvest team, and we can’t thank him enough for his contributions,” Sabin said. “His unique insight, intellect and skill set have been vital in our collective efforts to grow while serving our customers through the years. Bob will be missed by all of us at Arvest.”
Oklahoma law firm Hall Estill, with offices in Tulsa, Oklahoma City, Denver and Northwest Arkansas, announces that David T. Potts has been elected a shareholder in the Tulsa office.
“This accomplishment is a testament to David’s leadership and commitment to the firm’s clients and our community,” said Mike Cooke, managing partner for Hall Estill. “He is a talented attorney and his election to shareholder status is well deserved.”  
David joined Hall Estill in 2017 as special counsel. He focuses his practice in the tax field, assisting clients in the areas of federal, state and local taxation, including controversy, litigation, and ad valorem matters. Prior to joining Hall Estill, Potts was a partner at James, Potts & Wulfers, Inc.
Potts earned his J.D. from the University of Tulsa College of Law and is involved in the Tulsa County and Oklahoma Bar Associations, as well as the Tulsa Tax Club. Further, he is a member of the board of directors for The Center For Individuals With Physical Challenges.
Thomas Ramm has been appointed chief investment officer for Gateway First Bank. In this role, Ramm is responsible for all capital markets and investment-related activities, including the development and execution of investment strategies, secondary marketing, hedging activities and capital markets strategies with government-sponsored enterprises. In addition, Ramm is responsible for developing and managing relationships with Wall Street broker-dealers and fixed income investors.
“This is a critical hire for us. Thomas is a deeply experienced capital markets executive,” said Stephen Curry, chairman and CEO at Gateway. “His insights and leadership skills will enable us to navigate growth of our core businesses and rapidly changing markets.”
Ramm has worked at both banks and independent mortgage companies over the last 15 years. He has substantial experience in capital markets, mortgage-related investments, and interest rate and credit risk management. Prior to joining Gateway, Ramm served as EVP of capital markets at Stearns Lending. He was also VP of capital markets at MetLife Bank and SVP, interest rate risk management at First Tennessee Bank and First Horizon Home Loans. Ramm attended the University of North Texas, where he earned both a bachelor’s and master’s degree in finance.
“I was attracted to Gateway’s high growth and evolving company environment,” said Ramm. “Gateway’s transition to a bank earlier this year positioned the company as a diversified financial institution. I look forward to using my expertise to oversee a wide variety of capital markets activities to help Gateway achieve sustainable growth and strive for even greater excellence.”
Gateway First Bank also announces that Joell Maddox is joining the organization to help advance Gateway First Bank’s treasury management services. In her new role, Maddox will be responsible for managing relationships with correspondent banks, title companies and commercial customers who are using treasury management services. 
Gateway First Bank’s new line of treasury management solutions further expands the products and services for the financial institutions’ industry and demonstrates the commitment Gateway is making to its customer base. In May of 2019, Gateway Mortgage Group merged with a 100-year-old community bank to create Gateway First Bank. For the first time in history, a mortgage company evolved to become a bank, combining the technology and service that made Gateway Mortgage successful with the strength, security and product breadth of a bank.
“It is key we bring onto the Gateway First Bank team an accomplished leader in treasury management to help launch our products and services to best serve our client relationships and grow new ones,” says Stephen Curry, chairman and CEO. “Joell has had a very accomplished career in the financial institutions’ industry working with correspondent banks, and I look forward to her being a part of the successful culture and growth with Gateway First Bank.”
Maddox’s experience in the financial industry spans more than 30 years, blending both mortgage and correspondent banking. She has served in senior leadership positions with Origin Bank, IndyMac Bank and Wells Fargo as well as leadership positions at Federal Home Loan Bank of Dallas and Lomas Mortgage. Most recently, Maddox was vice president of treasury management Sales at Origin Bank. She has worked with financial institutions in Arkansas, Louisiana, Oklahoma, Mississippi and Texas; all states that align with Gateway First Bank’s target footprint.
“I am thrilled to be joining the Gateway team. Gateway’s reputation for valuing the importance of relationships and strong focus on the consumer is very important to me. I am honored to be a part of their team and look forward to building relationships and having a long, successful career here,” Maddox said.
Established in 2019 after the merger of Gateway Mortgage Group with a 100-year old bank, Gateway First Bank emerged as a leading financial institution that provides digital banking and mortgage services for consumers and commercial customers. Gateway is headquartered in Jenks, Oklahoma and funds over $7 billion of mortgages annually and maintains $1.4 billion in assets, six bank branches in Oklahoma, and 160 mortgage centers across America.