These days, his son Jim oversees a unique network of more than 200 community-spirited banks in four states that is one of this year's Community Service Award finalists.
When Sam Walton bought the Bank of Bentonville in 1961, he sowed the seeds that became the largest Arkansas-based bank.
With Mister Sam's son Jim as CEO, Arvest Bank boasts more than 230 branches in four states, each locally independent with its own president and board.
"Y'know, the important thing about banking is the people, and the people who care about their customers and you know I've been a part of this 35 years, but we care about our communities," says Dick Trammel, Vice President of Arvest Bank.
"We celebrated that bank two years ago as our volunteer company of the year. Because they are so important to us. So we believe that they're valuable in our community and Lifestyles, Fayetteville/Springdale they're valuable to Lifestyles," says Carol Hart, Executive Director of "Lifestyles."
Whether at Lifestyles, serving people with developmental disabilities, or at a temporary home for abused children awaiting foster homes, Arvest maintains a presence.
"In order to help subsidize the operational expense of a new campus that we are in the process of building right now, and Arvest stepped up to the plate and provided a sizeable amount of money towards that endowment, a 50-thousand-dollar gift," says Tim Nichols, Executive Director of NWA Children's Shelter,
Though headquartered in Northwest Arkansas, Arvest's involvement in non-profits extends to all of its sixteen markets, including Central Arkansas.
"They initially got involved with the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation because one of Arvest's employees. His sonas diagnosed with CF and so they got involved that year, and as the years passed they've just continued to get involved," says Jennifer Maune, Executive Director of the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation.
"The family, the presidents and the CEO's and the boards all care about their community, and we are a community bank that serves and supports our communities," says Trammel.
Arvest Bank is a finalist for the 2011 Large Corporate Community Service Award.