When it comes to banking, Lizzie Ware Williams is no stranger to the industry. Williams, who hails from a family of bankers, knew at a young age that she was destined to join the family business.
“I knew that if I lived in Amarillo, I wanted to be a banker,” Williams said.
Today, Williams serves as the vice president and community development director at Amarillo National Bank. Through her role, she is committed to serving the Amarillo community through nonprofit partnerships, community involvement, financial education and more.
Joining the family business
A native Texan, Williams left her hometown of Amarillo and went on to attend Southern Methodist University in Dallas. There she earned a bachelor’s degree in sociology, which later paved the way for a fruitful career in the banking industry.
Following her time in college, Williams returned home to join the family business and ANB team in 2000. There she kick-started her career, as many bankers do, as a teller. Williams continued to strengthen her knowledge of the banking industry and served in many roles throughout the company, including customer service, consumer lending officer and marketing.
“[Over the years] I have learned the importance of community banking in Texas and how different the markets can be,” added Williams. “At the end of the day, we all want to help our customers without the super-sized bank red tape.”
In 2010, Williams landed the role of community development director at ANB — allowing her to combine her passion for the banking industry and the Amarillo community — and has never looked back.
“I love working with our customers and I love the community bank camaraderie, especially in Amarillo,” said Williams. “We all compete every day, but we also play well together when it is for the betterment of our communities.”
With ANB’s “customer-first, community-centered culture” in mind, she works as the bank’s liaison to nonprofit organizations, schools and other community groups in the Amarillo area.Banking in Amarillo
Amarillo National Bank was formed in 1892 and has been owned by the Ware family since 1909. ANB currently operates more than 30 branch locations and provides both commercial and personal banking in Amarillo, Austin, Borger, College Station, Fort Worth and Lubbock.
In 2019, ANB acquired the historic West Texas institution, Lubbock National Bank. The purchase also included Commerce National Bank branches in Austin and College Station, allowing the family-owned bank to expand their footprint beyond the Texas Panhandle and into the South Plains and other parts of the state.
Today, ANB celebrates over 125 years of service in the Amarillo area and beyond.
Commitment to the community
Each year, the bank and its employees donate more than 10,000 hours of community service and over a million dollars to various charities. Williams and her team strive to give back to the communities in which they serve.
“ANB employees serve as volunteers, committee members, board members and financial educators for hundreds of charities,” said Williams. “We also give over a million dollars a year back to our community and have every year for over a decade.”
Employees are encouraged to give back through the bank’s $100 Charity Checks program. Each team member is provided $100 courtesy of ANB to donate to a charity of their choice.
ANB is actively involved with various organizations, including Heal the City, Opportunity School and Snack Pak 4 Kids, to name a few.
To complement the bank’s charitable efforts, Williams also oversees the bank’s financial education program. ANB launched its School Bank Project during the 2017-2018 school year in which they allowed students to work at the bank to learn a good work ethic and promote financial responsibility into adulthood.
That same year, ANB was honored with a Leaders in Financial Education (LiFE) Award from the Texas Bankers Foundation for their outstanding efforts in promoting financial education in their community via the School Bank Project.
This 20-year banker continues to make a positive impact both in Amarillo and the banking industry. For the past four years, Williams has been active on the Texas Bankers Foundation Board of Directors and is currently serving her second year as the board’s chair. She continues to celebrate community involvement through the Foundation’s efforts to serve and support Texas banks, their employees and communities.
Life outside of banking
Williams enjoys spending time with her husband, Shannon, and their five children. Their youngest daughters, twins Gabrielle and Caroline, often keep the duo busy with their various sports activities.
In addition to banking, Williams also runs a small nonprofit organization called Hands On Amarillo, an online Volunteer Center that matches volunteers with nonprofits. She started the organization in 2014 while working with many Amarillo nonprofit organizations and coordinating volunteer efforts during her day-to-day outreach at ANB.