When Ricky Sparks joined the Bank of St. Francisville in May, 2022, he brought more than 28 years’ experience in community banking within the Greater Baton Rouge region, where he has served in various senior and executive management positions. Sparks comes to BSF from Investar Bank, where he served in the position of Commercial Market Manager / Feliciana Market President. Prior to that he was Senior Executive Officer at Highlands Bank, managing bank-wide operations and guiding the East Feliciana-based institution through its merger with Investar in December, 2017. He spent fifteen years as Executive Vice President and Chief Administrative Officer at Port Allen-based American Gateway Bank, which merged with Business First Bank in 2015.
Prior to banking, Sparks worked 10 years in public accounting and real estate management as a certified public accountant with an emphasis in auditing financial institutions. Early in that stage of his career, Sparks noted, one of the banks he audited was Bank of St. Francisville. “I came to know [BSF Chairman Emeritus] Carter Leak III and Conville Lemoine at that time, and had a tremendous amount of respect for what they were doing in the community,” he said.
Sparks has served on various community boards as a member and officer, including the West Baton Rouge Chamber of Commerce, Leadership West Class of 2002, the Rotary Club of Baton Rouge and The Bluffs Property Owners Association.
"By their nature, banks have to grow. But here there’s such a commitment to community and that’s very attractive to me."
Sparks currently serves as a board member of the Louisiana Bankers Service Corporation, the St. Francisville Area Foundation where he serves as Treasurer, and the East Feliciana Chamber of Commerce. He is a member of the Louisiana Society of CPAs, and recently joined the Rotary Club of St. Francisville. A West Feliciana resident for twenty-five years, Sparks lives at The Bluffs on Thompson Creek with his wife, Renee, a former West Feliciana Parish Middle School teacher, who taught sixth grade math until her retirement in 2018. They have four adult children; their oldest, Shannon Shaffer, has followed in her mother’s footsteps, becoming a second-grade teacher at Bains Elementary. A passionate golfer, Sparks is optimistic about The Bluffs’ course reopening plan, and looks forward to resuming playing the Arnold Palmer-designed course when it reopens in 2023.
Sparks is originally from Baton Rouge and a graduate of LSU. As Executive Vice President for Commercial Lending, Sparks helps businesses in the local market by originating loans to finance operations, real estate and equipment acquisitions. He is excited to have joined Bank of St. Francisville during a period of rapid growth, both in the Felicianas and more broadly in the Baton Rouge market. “I think that Bank of St. Francisville has a dynamic management team that has a vision, not only for growth, but also for the community, and you really have to have both,” Sparks observed. “By their nature, banks have to grow. But here there’s such a commitment to community and that’s very attractive to me. I enjoy community banks because I enjoy working with local people to try and make a difference. I think this bank is a perfect fit for that.”