Arvest Bank entered a definitive agreement to acquire Bear State Bank, officials announced Tuesday.

The acquisition is expected to close either the last quarter of 2017 or the first quarter of 2018.

"We still have to go through regulatory approvals," Rob Keys, Arvest public relations manager, said.

Bear State Bank currently has 42 branches and three personalized technology centers in Arkansas, Missouri and Oklahoma, including a branch on Prince Street in Conway.

With an Arvest Bank less than a mile away on College Avenue, there is a possibility one of those branches will close once the sale is final.

"We’ll be looking at those issues," President and CEO of Arvest in Central Arkansas Jim Cargill told the Log Cabin Democrat. "Sometimes we end up getting a better location and closing an [existing] Arvest branch.

"We always try to evaluate and see what works best for the customers. Conway is a great market for us and we’ve got some really good branch locations there already."

The Bear State Bank in Conway opened Oct. 26, 2015.

"This is a strategic move for us and one made after much careful consideration," Arvest President and CEO Kevin Sabin said in a news release. "In addition to giving us the opportunity to expand into some new communities, this deal also allows us to strengthen our presence in some existing markets.

"Because Bear State is such a solid company with dedicated employees – and because both banks are so committed to their communities – we believe this will be a great fit. From outstanding products and services to superior customer service, Arvest shares a lot of similarities to Bear State and we look forward to serving all of our customers – old and new – with the same courtesy, competency and care as we always have."

Arvest Bank and Bear State customers will not notice any immediate changes, and both banks will continue to conduct business as usual.

A full conversion of systems and accounts will occur in 2018, and Arvest Bank will be communicating with Bear State customers over the next several months regarding their transition to Arvest Bank, the release stated.