50-Year Bankers honored

30 legendary bankers recognized for half century of service

1970 is remembered for many reasons: the continuation of antiwar demonstrations, including the Kent State shootings, the deaths of Jimi Hendrix and Janis Joplin, the disbanding of the Beatles, the debut of Monday Night Football and the first supersonic flight of the Concord.

For the Texas banking industry, 1970 is also the year several legendary bankers began their careers. To honor their half-century milestones, the Texas Bankers Foundation is presenting them with 50-Year Banker Awards.

Drew AlbrightG. Drew Allbright of Carrollton is facilities contractor for TIB – The Independent BankersBank in Farmers Branch. He began his banking career while attending The University of North Texas, Denton, as a commercial teller at South Oak Cliff Bank in Dallas. During his career, Allbright worked for several institutions and in various positions. He has been with TIB since 1997, providing expertise in numerous capacities — IT, Y2K oversight, facilities and project management.

Bobbie AriolaBobbie Ariola of Memphis started her career in the bookkeeping department of the First National Bank in Memphis. She spent a couple of years with the First National Bank of Tulia and then returned to First National Bank of Memphis. She has been with the bank through five ownership changes. She currently serves as vice president, cashier and member of the board of directors at First Bank and Trust in Memphis and has been in banking for 60 years.

Dora BrownDora Brown of McAllen began her career at Merchant Marine Bank and later went to work for Valley Federal Savings, which became International Bank of Commerce. Brown was with IBC Bank for 30 years, retiring earlier this year as senior vice president and marketing officer. She was the leading force behind the creation of Minitropolis, the bank’s signature financial literacy program that provides elementary students an opportunity to see how a community operates by giving them a variety of real-world positions in mini stores and mini-city government.

Daniel FlynnDaniel Flynn of Canton began his professional career in banking at American National Bank, Austin in 1962. He went to work for the Texas Department of Banking as an assistant field examiner and worked his way up to a senior examiner before returning to the banking industry. Through the next few years, he worked at various banks throughout Texas holding senior bank positions as well as serving on several banks’ boards. Flynn is in his ninth term in the Texas House of Representatives and during the last legislative session served as chairman of the Defense and Veterans’ Affairs Committee and as a member of the House Administration and the House Pensions, Investments and Financial Services Committees.

Ron GiddiensRon Giddiens of San Angelo serves as a director of San Angelo First Financial Bank and First Financial Bankshares Inc. He began his banking career while attending Baylor University as a part-time teller at Community State Bank, Waco. Following his graduation, he began a credit training program with Republic National Bank in Dallas. Giddiens also worked at West Side National Bank, Boatman’s Bank and Bank of America in San Angelo. He has served as a bank consultant providing expertise on community banking, wealth management and commercial lending businesses.

Ronald D. HarrisRonald D. Harris of Pasadena is a senior credit review officer for Cadence Bank N.A., Houston. He began his banking career as a teenager at Industrial State Bank in Houston where he spent seven years working his way through all departments. In 1977, he joined the Texas Department of Banking as an assistant bank examiner and was later commissioned as a bank examiner. He returned to banking when he accepted a position with Allied Bank of Texas and continued his career at several banks in the Houston area. He has been with Cadence Bank since 2015.

Brenda HaynesBrenda Haynes of Johnson City began her banking career as a teller on June 21, 1970, one month after graduating from high school. She is proud to be an employee of Johnson City Bank for her entire career. She currently serves as vice president/cashier and as a member of the board of directors. Haynes is active in supporting the county youth by cooking for the stock show, Wild Game Dinner and the Volunteer Fire Department Annual Fish Fry. Her life philosophy is to always be willing to “step up” to a new challenge and do your best.

Paul J. HenryPaul J. Henry of Liberty began his career as a mortgage loan officer with First Liberty National Bank; he has been with the bank his entire career. In 1991, he was promoted to president of First Liberty National Bank. He retired in January 2017 but remains an active member of the board of directors. Henry has served on many community organizations boards and committees including, St. Stephen’s Episcopal Church, Liberty City Council, Liberty County Hospital District #1, Liberty Library Board and Trinity Valley Exposition.

Mayo LoperMayo Loper of Abernathy began his banking career in 1952 as a bookkeeper and janitor at First State Bank of Abernathy; he later became the assistant cashier for the bank. In 1970, he was promoted to vice president/bank cashier and was appointed to the bank’s board of directors. In 2003, Loper semi-retired and stepped down from his administrative responsibilities. He currently serves as a teller for the bank. He has been with First State Bank for 68 years! Loper has been an active member of the Abernathy Church of Christ since 1951.

Paul S. MoxleyPaul S. Moxley of McAllen began his banking career in 1970 with McAllen State Bank and then worked for Valley Federal Savings and Security State Bank in Pharr. In 1986, he joined Texas State Bank, where he served as president and director and as executive vice president of Texas Regional Bancshares Inc. In 2006, Texas State Bank sold to BBVA; Moxley served as the South Texas regional executive, overseeing the integration and conversion of the bank into BBVA Compass. In 2012, he joined Texas Regional Bank as president, CEO and board director. Moxley served as chairman of Texas Bankers Association in 2004. In 2019, he was inducted into the Texas Bankers Hall of Fame.

Aubrey PettyAubrey Petty of Miles began her banking career at First National Bank of San Angelo in 1966 as a data entry clerk. In 2004, the bank started a series of acquisitions and mergers becoming First National Bank of West Texas, Lubbock; then Norwest Bank Texas; and Wells Fargo in 2003. In 2004, Petty retired for the “first” time; one day later she became the interim cashier at Eden State Bank; she remained with the bank for one year. She then joined the Citizens State Bank, Miles and has been with the bank for 15 years and is a senior vice president and cashier.

Milan SaundersMilan Saunders of Humble begin his banking career in 1968, as a collection expeditor with General Electric Credit Corp. He entered an operations program at First National Bank, Bellaire and then went to work for Allied Bancshares, where he spent 11 years. In 1987, he accepted the position of president of First City Bank, Humble, and in 1993, he joined Pinemont Bank, which later merged with Southwest Bank of Texas. In 2003, Saunders and two associates started a de novo, Partners Bank of Texas, which they later sold to Sterling Bank. In 2007, he organized Plains Acquisition Corp. and purchased Plains State Bank in 2008. He is the bank’s chairman and CEO.

John H. StocktonJohn H. Stockton of Louise was elected to the board of directors of The First State Bank, Louise in 1969, upon the passing of his father, Ralph S. Stockton, one of the bank’s founders. He served as the chairman of the building committee in 1974 when the new First State Bank building was designed and built. During the 1980s, while having a full-time job outside of the bank, Stockton served as vice president of the bank and was instrumental in the bank forming Louise Bancshares Inc. In 1994, he accepted the position as CEO and president of the bank, a position he held until his retirement in 2007; he remains on the bank’s board.

Ignacio UrrabazoIgnacio Urrabazo Jr. of Laredo began his banking career at State National Bank in El Paso, where he was first hired to work in the international department. He completed the bank’s year-long training program, and he realized that his passion lay more in commercial lending. He now serves as president and CEO of Commerce Bank in Laredo. He is a past chairman of the National Bankers Association, the Texas Bankers Association, MinBanc Foundation and the Laredo Chamber of Commerce. He was also one of the original board members for the FDIC Advisory Board for Community Banking. Urrabazo has received numerous awards for his banking and community involvement.

James E. WallaceJames E. Wallace of Longview began his banking career with First National Bank in Dallas with a staff position in the cost & planning department. He later transferred to the credit department before leaving the bank for a position with Dallas Rupe & Co. in Longview. He returned to First National Bank as a correspondent banker. He worked at Longview National Bank; Allied Bank, Longview; MBank Longview; and City National Bank in Kilgore, where he served as president and CEO of the bank for more than 10 years. He then became a loan officer at Regions Bank, Bank Texas and has been with Austin Bank the past 10 years, where he serves as a senior vice president.

Susan G. AllenSusan G. Allen of Boerne began her career while participating in the Vocational Office Education program as a high school junior at Pan American National Bank in San Antonio. After her first 10 years in banking, she became a lender and served in lending positions for the remainder of her career. She joined Texas Heritage Bank in Boerne in 2003. In Feburary 2020, she retired as a senior vice president and lender with Jefferson Bank, Boerne.

Steven D. BeardenSteven D. Bearden of Waco, senior vice president – lending, has been with Community Bank & Trust, Waco, his entire career and is the bank’s longest-tenured employee. During his career, he has been a teller, overseen collections, served as assistant cashier, personal banker and produced loans of all types. For four years, Bearden served as director of NeighborWorks Waco, a non-profit organization that works to provide a path to homeownership and quality rental housing to the Waco community. He continues to serve this organization today as an honorary board member.

David D. ChadwickDavid D. Chadwick of Center is the president and CEO of Farmers State Bank in Center; he has been with the bank since he began his full-time career. During his career, he has worked in every department and helped manage three major software conversions. He has served on the bank’s board of directors since 1981. Chadwick is the mayor of Center and has been a member of the Center City Council for 37 years. He currently serves or has served on the Center Economic Development Committee, Shelby County Chamber of Commerce, Panola College Advisory Board, Stephen F. Austin Capital Campaign Committee and the East Texas Baptist University Board of Trustees.

Sarita G. Garcia IISarita G. Garcia II of Alice started her career with The Bank of South Texas in 1970 as a loan assistant. During her banking career, Garcia has held positions including head of the credit department, student loan officer, senior vice president/lending officer. In 2000, she joined First Community Bank of Corpus Christi and is currently an executive vice president and bank manager of the Alice branch. Garcia has served as treasurer and later as president of the Alice Chamber of Commerce and received the Citizen of the Year Award from the chamber. She also served on the board of the Alice Regional Hospital for over 18 years.

Donald Kenneth GreerDonald Kenneth Greer of Mount Vernon serves as an advisory director of Alliance Bank. Greer spent the first 15 years of his career at banks in Dallas and Houston. He has been a banker in Mount Vernon for the past 43 years and served as president and CEO of First National Bank of Mount Vernon for 35 of those years. He has served as a volunteer leader in numerous Franklin County civic organizations, including the Chamber of Commerce, Rotary Club, Masonic Lodge, Eastern Star, Historical Association and Mount Vernon Education Foundation.

Hubbard Lynn Hartt Jr.Hubbard Lynn Hartt Jr. of Center began his banking career at 17 at the Cotton Belt State Bank in Timpson, where he was later promoted to vice president and cashier. He continued his career with Merchants and Planters State Bank in Mt. Enterprise, the First National Bank and Shelby County Savings in Center, continuing to receive promotions and serving on boards of directors. In 2017, Hartt accepted his current position as vice president/loan officer and branch manager of the Shelbyville branch for Farmers State Bank in Center.

George HegerGeorge Heger of Granger began his career at 14 as a janitor for the First State Bank in Weimar and during college worked for NBC Bank in San Antonio. After graduating from college, he joined the U.S. Army, serving two years. Returning to civilian life, Heger worked for Austin County State Bank in Bellville, The First State Bank in Hitchcock, Yorktown Community Bank and New Ulm State Bank. In 1973, Heger bought controlling interest in Granger National Bank, where he currently serves as chairman of the board.

Anita KaluzaAnita Kaluza of Buffalo began her banking career with The State National Bank in West in 1969. Her first position was in the bookkeeping department. She later became the executive vice president and then interim CEO of the bank. Kaluza is now an assistant branch manager with Citizens State Bank of Buffalo; she plans to retire soon. She has enjoyed the challenge of different banking technology that has developed during her career, from programming machines with punch tape to computers with internet connection to data centers.

Dan E. MortonDan E. Morton of Waxahachie began his career while in high school as a part-time employee at Waxahachie Bank & Trust Company. While attending Baylor University, he worked at Citizens National Bank of Waco. Upon graduation, he accepted a position as a junior assistant examiner with the Federal Reserve Bank of Dallas, eventually attaining full examiner status. In 1970, Morton returned to Waxahachie Bank & Trust as vice president and loan officer; he was later appointed president of the bank. During his 57 years in banking he has been with First National Bank in Waxahachie, Main Bank in Dallas, First Bank & Trust, Ennis and Prosperity Bank.

Ronnie ParksRonnie Parks of Waco began his banking career in 1959 as a clerk in the bookkeeping department at Bellmead State Bank in Waco. During his 20 years with the bank, he was promoted to vice president, cashier and head of the bank’s operations department. In 1978, he accepted a position as agricultural loan officer at First National Bank in Memphis; he later served as the bank’s president. In 1986, Parks joined Clifton National Bank as president. Four years later, he went to work for Texas National Bank, Waco, as a lender in the consumer loan department; the bank was sold to Compass Bank in June 1997. He soon joined Central National Bank as a consumer lender and was with the bank until his retirement in 2018.

Edward PickettEdward Pickett of Liberty began his banking career in 1970, when he joined the First Liberty National Bank’s board of directors and became the bank’s attorney, positions he has held his entire career. At the time, his father, Bradford Pickett, was the bank’s president. Prior to his joining the bank board, Pickett joined the law firm started by his grandfather. In 1966, he attended U.S. Coast Guard Officer Candidate School in Virginia and was commissioned an Ensign. His service included being stationed in South Vietnam, serving as a Base Communications Officer in Cat Lo. He returned to Texas and his law practice in 1969.

John L. SniderJohn L. Snider of Center is vice chairman of both Shelby Savings Bank and Shelby Bancshares Inc. He began his banking career at Southern Savings & Loan Association in Brownwood as an AVP. He spent the next 20 years working at state-chartered thrifts in Brownwood and Center. In 1990, he accepted a position as SVP/compliance officer with Shelby County Saving Association. He has remained with the institution, now Shelby Savings Bank, transitioning to his current position. Snider has served as a member and chairman of several industry boards and commissions, including Texas Finance Commission, American Bankers Association and Texas Bankers Association, where he served as chairman in 2014.

Paul D. UrbanPaul D. Urban of Boerne began his banking career with a summer job as a filing clerk at Comfort State Bank. His duties at the bank steadily increased to positions in lending, compliance and security; he eventually became EVP, director and secretary to the board of directors. In 1995, the bank was acquired by Norwest; Urban was elected president and served in that position for Norwest/Wells Fargo until he retired from the bank in 2000. The next month, he went to work for Bank of the Hills and opened the bank’s Comfort branch, until it was acquired by Sterling Bank. He served as branch manager of the Comfort Branch of Sterling/Comerica Bank until he retired again in 2012. He currently serves on the board of directors of Texas Heritage Bank.

Carlos R. VacekCarlos R. Vacek of Orange began his banking career in 1970 at First City National Bank in Orange. He left the bank 10 years later, when he accepted the position as president of First Texas Bank in Vidor. He led two investor groups to acquire banks and then sell those to other banks. At the urging of his son, they formed another group and purchased First State Bank, Three Rivers in 2016. He currently serves as the chairman of the board of the holding company and CEO of the bank, which was re-branded under the name First State Bank of Texas and the headquarters relocated to Orange.

Donald “Bubba” WhatleynDonald “Bubba” Whatley of Wichita Falls began his banking career in 1969 at Parker Square State Bank in Wichita Falls as a teller and worked in operations and customer service. He moved to Sheppard Civilian Credit Union in 1972 to be a consumer lender. He then joined American National Bank & Trust in 1981 as a consumer lender. He has been the bank’s chief lending officer since 2015 and is also an executive vice president of the bank. Whatley is a staunch supporter of the Boys & Girls Club of Wichita Falls and is an active member of the Cowboy Church in Wichita Falls.