Bank of the Ozarks in Arkansas is looking to change its name to better reflect its geographic reach.

In a Securities and Exchange Commission document filed Thursday, the Little Rock company, which has retail branches in eight states and operates a nationwide lending business, said it wants to change its name to Bank OZK.

If shareholders approve the proposal at the May annual meeting, the name change and a rebranding campaign would take place this summer.

“Bank OZK retains the brand equity we have developed over our 115-year history and our 21 years of outstanding performance as a public company,” Chairman and Chief Executive George Gleason said in a press release. “At the same time, it frees us from the limitations of a name tied to a specific geographic region.”

Bank of the Ozarks CEO George Gleason.
The name change, if approved, would free the bank "from the limitations of a name tied to a specific geographic region," said CEO George Gleason.

Since it went public in 1997, Bank of the Ozarks has grown from $307 million of assets to $21.3 billion in assets as of Dec. 31. Since 2003, Bank of the Ozarks has acquired 16 other institutions, including seven in government-assisted deals since 2010. Today the bank has 254 offices in Arkansas, Alabama, Florida, Georgia, New York, North Carolina, South Carolina and Texas. It also has loan production offices in California, and its real estate specialties group and indirect marine and RV lending division serve major markets across the U.S.

Bank of the Ozarks also dissolved its holding company last year in a cost-cutting measure, though it did not specify how much savings it expected to achieve at that time.

The company said that if the name change is approved, it expects to incur one-time, pretax expenses totaling between $15 million and $25 million during the third quarter this year, largely for marketing and rebranding expenses. The bank’s stock trades on the Nasdaq Global Select Market under the ticker symbol OZRK; that would change to OZK once the new name is adopted.

Shareholders will vote on the proposed name on May 7, and then the bank will seek regulatory approval from the Arkansas State Bank Department. If all goes as planned, the name change will take effect July 16.

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