The Arkansas Bankers Association announced Friday that President and Chief Executive Kenneth D. Hammonds will retire at the end of this year and will be replaced by the trade group's chief operating officer, William R. Holmes.

Hammonds joined the Arkansas Bankers in 1999 as the head of government relations and was promoted to president and CEO the following year. He began his banking career in 1963 at Twin City Bank in North Little Rock and eventually worked his way up to chairman of two of its subsidiary banks.

Charles Blanchard, the trade group's chairman and the chairman and CEO of First State Bank in Russellville, Ark., thanked Hammonds for his 12 years of service. The Arkansas banking industry is much stronger, and our ability to serve the needs of our customers is greater due to his leadership, commitment and dedication to our banks," Blanchard said.

Holmes, the new CEO, has been with the trade group in 2003. He had previously worked in investment banking and in the trust and wealth management divisions of Mercantile Bank and Metropolitan National Bank.

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