Features

Lindsey Catlett – Simmons Bank

Simmons Bank attorney uses legal and business skills to guide growth

Lindsey Catlett may not meet directly with Simmons Bank customers as they apply for loans, open accounts or use the other financial services the bank provides. 

But as vice president and senior corporate counsel, she’s part of the team managing Simmons Bank’s day-to-day legal affairs, including integrating the teams and products from the banks Simmons has acquired over the past few years. 

Lindsey Catlett | Vice President, Senior Corporate Counsel | Simmons Bank 

Lindsey Catlett | Vice President, Senior Corporate Counsel | Simmons Bank

Whether she and her team are working with business units to draft and revise terms and conditions for products or develop new digital banking services and products, Catlett enjoys being a business and legal partner who’s able to use her MBA and J.D. to help the bank grow. 

“Because we’re a relatively small legal department, it’s important we have a depth of knowledge and expertise to work with many business units,” Catlett says. “In one afternoon, I may advise a banker about the nuances of a Tennessee state law, negotiate the terms of a historic tax credit investment, draft a digital banking agreement, and meet with a potential eVault vendor. I take pride in what the bank offers and how I help provide it.” 

Community based, continued growth 

Simmons Bank was founded in 1903 in Pine Bluff, Arkansas, where it remains headquartered. However, it has grown from having initial deposits of about $3,300 to currently having $28 billion in assets as it operates in Arkansas, Kansas, Missouri, Oklahoma, Tennessee and Texas.  

As Simmons has grown since 2010, it has also acquired banks throughout a five-state area, beginning with Southwest Community Bank of Springfield, Missouri, and Security Savings Bank FSB of Olathe, Kansas. More recently, Simmons Bank acquired Landmark Community Bank of Collierville, Tennessee, and Triumph Bank of Memphis in 2021 and then Spirit of Texas Bank of Conroe, Texas, in 2022. Those acquisitions mean Simmons Bank currently has more than 200 locations and about 3,100 associates. 

Since joining Simmons Bank in April 2021, Catlett has supported its growth by playing a guiding role in revising and revamping its service agreements and disclosures for areas including commercial banking and state and local public deposits. She’s also worked with business unit leaders to rewrite agreements and disclosures for commercial treasury management services. 

Catlett has also been part of the team overseeing the migration of acquired customer accounts and helps develop new banking products and services. She and her team emphasize clarity in the agreements and disclosures they write. 

“As we draft agreements, we place a strong emphasis on explaining Simmons’ processes and practices so all our customers, whether corporate entities or consumers, can digest and understand them,” she says. 

Lindsey Catlett | Vice President, Senior Corporate Counsel | Simmons Bank 

Catlett was also the legal lead for rewriting Simmons’ debit card agreement and creating a deposit product designed for use by attorneys opening interest on lawyers’ trust, or IOLTA, accounts. Interest earned on IOLTA accounts can be transferred to state bar associations and used for charitable purposes.  

Because IOLTA accounts are subject to different rules in each of the states where Simmons Bank operates, Catlett says she worked with the bank’s business units to create the accounts as separate products. She also helped create state-specific agreements and product types for public funds deposited by state agencies and municipal and county governments. 

“It’s been a challenging experience and rewarding opportunity to create tailored products designed for a unique customer base and the myriad of laws which govern them,” Catlett says. “The question has been, ‘How do we efficiently design products, procedures and agreements to meet customers’ needs and ensure compliance?’” 

Dual degrees at work 

Like Simmons Bank, Catlett is Arkansas born and raised. She earned her bachelor’s degree in business and finance from Ouachita Baptist University in 2014 and says she knew combining an MBA and J.D. would enable her to provide more comprehensive counsel to commercial clients in private practice. 

So, Catlett earned both degrees in 2018 from Samford University, studying law during the day and business at night. She also found time to serve as editor in chief of Samford’s Law Review and as an associate justice on its moot court board. 

Before graduating with her J.D., Catlett was a summer associate at private firms located in Little Rock, Arkansas, as well as Birmingham, Alabama.  

After earning her graduate degrees, Catlett went into private practice in Birmingham with the firm of Balch & Bingham LLP, representing banks, corporations and real estate developers on financial institution regulation, financing and development matters. 

Lindsey Catlett | Vice President, Senior Corporate Counsel | Simmons Bank 

Outside work, Catlett’s volunteer experience includes current work with the Junior League of Little Rock. She has also been a court appointed special advocate in the family court system in Jefferson County, Alabama, and a resource parent with Big Oak Ranch, a Christian home for abused, neglected and abandoned children in Springville, Alabama. 

Catlett also values Simmons Bank’s community service efforts, which include providing materials for students going back to school, supporting local food banks and sponsoring women’s athletic departments at 10 colleges and universities. The bank also supported a fundraising event Catlett chaired for a local nonprofit, Acts4Rwanda. 

“I really enjoy the camaraderie of working towards common goals of building products, processes and systems that exceed both customer expectations and our legal and regulatory obligations,” Catlett says. “It’s exciting to leverage my business background and legal expertise while operating within the complex legal and regulatory framework of the financial services industry.” 

View this feature in the Vanguard Fall I 2023 Edition here.

Published on: August 24, 2023

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