First Federal sues Smiley, loan signatures may be fake

story by Kim Souza
ksouza@thecitywire.com

One more bank has filed suit against former Arvest bank executive H. Dennis Smiley Jr. for loan defaults totaling $70,000 made in 2013. First Federal Bank noted in its complaint filed Thursday (April 24) in Benton County Circuit Court that it made two loans to Smiley last year — $50,000 line of credit and $25,000 term loan.

Both loans were guaranteed by Smiley, personally and the $25,000 loan was also guaranteed by the Henry Dennis Smiley Revocable Trust, dated Sept. 29, 1994, according to the court filing.

Following Smiley’s resignation in March, First Federal said it made demand for payment   which has not been received. The bank asked the court for two judgments amounting to $49,999.96 and $20,000 with interest accruing until payment is made.

Unlike the other 10 banks who have also filed for payment with the court, this time Smiley did not use his Arvest bank stock for collateral. These loans were made with Smiley’s personal guarantee as collateral. 

It is not known what assets may or may not be contained within Smiley’s revocable trust which has been used as collateral in at least two other loans — Bank of Fayetteville $250,000 and Signature Bank amount not disclosed.

Also Thursday, Smiley filed his first response with the court since the onslaught of legal complaints began March 25. Through his legal team, Kenneth Mourton of Ball & Mourton Ltd. of Fayetteville, Smiley answered the complaint made by Delta Bank & Trust. 

The filing notes that the purported signature of his father “H. Dennis Smiley Sr. that appears on the promissory note and guarantee may not be the actual signature of Smiley Sr.” The junior Smiley admitted nothing except that his father’s signature as it appears on the loan documents may be fake.

Henry Dennis Smiley Sr. was a co-maker in $245,126 loan extended by Delta Bank & Trust on Feb. 20. Delta Bank & Trust also sued him for nonpayment of that loan. The senior Smiley filed an answer with court on April 11, saying he did not sign the loan documents, had no knowledge of the loan, nor did he grant anyone authority to sign his name.
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There have been no criminal charges filed against Smiley, but sources told The City Wire that federal authorities have been investigating the alleged bank fraud for nearly three months.

Smiley is believed to have borrowed as much as $4.5 million using the same collateral and on his own reputation in the banking community. The tangible collateral used multiple times was his shares in Arvest Bank Group, a non-transferable asset, according to Arvest.

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Arvest, hit with 20 demands for payment from banks around the state, placed Smiley’s stock proceeds with the Benton County Circuit Court earlier this month. Those assets totaled $552,000. Arvest asked the court to sort out how gets paid what.

It is still unknown how those proceeds will be divided, given they come no where near what is owed. If the court uses the timeline for when the loans were made. First Western  Bank would be at the head of the line, based on the UCC Finance Statements on file with the Secretary of State. First State Bank of DeQueen, would be second in line. Neither of these banks have filed claims with the court as of Friday (April 25).

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