Aaron Huntley is a creative soul, perhaps rare in the banking industry but, he believes, particularly useful today.

Huntley, a Pine Bluff native, joined First Western Bank in 2019 as senior vice president of strategy, focusing on strategic operations and the next generation of community banking.

Huntley had worked 13 years for Dallas-based VAR Technology Finance, touching every aspect of the business from sales and marketing to credit and rising to senior management. He led teams that built financial services programs for technology companies such as Apple, Cisco and Ingram Micro.

VAR’s annual revenue ballooned from $30 million to $300 million, and Huntley experienced a distinct reward in helping businesses thrive during the recession.

“I was having to stretch my mind and constantly be evolving,” he said. “It was the most fulfilling time of my career.”

Huntley’s wife, Kelli, took a job with Mercy Hospital in 2012. Huntley continued five more years with VAR, working remotely, before joining First Western when the bank began exploring the internet’s role in its future.

“I like creating things, being involved in the dramatic and creative arts, acting, screenwriting, improv,” Huntley said. “Nobody would think of banking as a creative endeavor, but I may be in the perfect industry. It won’t look like it does today in five years, and as it transforms, creativity is essential.”

Huntley holds an MBA from Pittsburg State University and a bachelor’s degree in management and entrepreneurship from the University of Arkansas at Little Rock. He’s a certified Project Management Professional and a Six Sigma Black Belt. He is enjoying involvement with nonprofit organizations within the eleven communities with branches of First Western.