Community, Local Banks Celebrate Their History, Look to the Future

March 28, 2016|By Edmond Ortiz, Reporter The Rivard Report

Community leaders and founders at The Bank of San Antonio ribbon cutting in 2007.

The Rivard Report's latest article features local banks, including The Bank of San Antonio:

According to a recent Bloomberg BNA story, the community bank industry, nationwide, is stabilizing as the number of failures of independent banks declined last year.

Despite the decline of small towns, fewer startup community banks, and rising costs associated with new industry regulations, there remains a banking demand that larger banks are not meeting in small towns and big cities.

In San Antonio, a few locally owned and/or operated independent and mid-sized banks have seen longterm success. This year, Broadway Bank celebrated its 75th anniversary, Jefferson Bank is currently observing its 70th anniversary, Frost Bank is gearing up for its 150th anniversary celebration in 2018 and Bank of San Antonio opened just nine years ago.

Even in a fast-growing city like San Antonio, tradition, embracing new generations of customers, and a chance to serve niche markets keeps independent and locally owned/operated banks strong. This appears to be the case for institutions such as Broadway Bank that have been owned and run by members of the same family for decades.

BANK OF SAN ANTONIO

As far as targeting other client markets goes, Bank of San Antonio has established itself as a worthy outlet for businesses in a short time. The institution opened nine years ago when a group of local investors proposed a new business model for regional banking.

“The shareholders said, ‘Let’s go do something for businesses of San Antonio. Let’s not compete with the big banks for their consumer and retail markets,'” said Brent Given, Bank of San Antonio president/CEO. The investors raised more than $28 million to launch Bank of San Antonio, which opened in 2007.

The institution, the city’s fourth largest locally owned bank, now has more than $560 million in assets, and operates four centers around the city. A fifth branch is due to open in Schertz this May.

The Bank of San Antonio centers are smaller than the branches operated by the likes of Broadway, Jefferson and Frost banks. The Bank of San Antonio centers are located in areas saturated with businesses of varying sizes.

The bank will also open a new corporate headquarters in the Vance Jackson Road/Loop 410 area this year, moving the main campus from its original Callaghan Road/Interstate 10 location.

In a 2015 San Antonio Business Journal article, chairman/founder J. Bruce Bugg said Bank of San Antonio’s quick trajectory to success reflected local businesses’ demand for a locally owned bank that concentrated on their needs.

The bank capitalized on the strengths of mobile deposit technology, as that was emerging, Given said, and by building a new platform the young institution showed mainly local businesses how they could benefit from the technology.

The Bank of San Antonio made converts of many of those businesses, which helped to grow the organization’s client base. The financial crisis of 2008 also helped Bank of San Antonio in a way because the institution had solid capital, no bad loans and a clean reputation. It’s more attractive to new clients and provides an array of business banking and treasury management services as well as private banking, complete with wealth advisors and insurance expertise.

“This is a group of experienced bankers delivering a much higher level of service,” Given said. “We take care of the customers and their back office (employees). I think we do a good job for local business owners and their families.”

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