Community Banker Spotlight

George Martinez

Making a meaningful impact on the banking industry

George Martinez
chairman, Allegiance Bancshares and vice chairman, Allegiance Bank, Houston

Known as a leader in the community, Texas native George Martinez has dedicated over 50 years of service to the banking industry. Today, he serves as the chairman of Allegiance Bancshares and vice chairman of Allegiance Bank, which he co-founded in 2007.

“[In the banking industry], you learn a lot about different types of industries, different types of businesses, different kinds of people,” said Martinez. “And the main thing that you’re there for as a banker is to help companies succeed and thrive.”

Martinez has become a prolific leader among his colleagues and continues to serve as a teacher and coach and manages new product projects at Allegiance Bank. Since day one, his approach to leadership in the workplace has made an impact on numerous lives and he has helped shape the Texas banking industry into what it is today.

Five decades in the industry

A graduate of Rice University, Martinez kicked off his banking career working part-time at a local bank during his senior year at Rice University and later went on to work at a chemical firm as an accountant for nearly nine years.

Since his banking debut, he has worked for various community bank organizations throughout Houston including Fannin Bank, director of Pan American National Bank and Bank of Almeda.

In 1974, Martinez co-founded Sterling Bank, where he served as CEO for 21 years. During that time, he was awarded the Exemplary Leader Award from the American Leadership Forum and the Ethical Leadership in Action Award from the University of St. Thomas Center for Business Ethics.

Martinez later retired as chairman emeritus of Sterling Bank in 2005.

Two years later, he went on to co-found Allegiance Bank, Houston’s largest community bank, where he served as CEO for over 12 years. Last year, he formally retired from his position and has since remained the chairman of the Allegiance Bancshares Board of Directors and assumed the role of vice chairman of Allegiance Bank.

At Allegiance Bank, Martinez enjoys working alongside his daughter Martha, who serves as his executive assistant and community engagement coordinator, and his granddaughter Lindsey, who works as a marketing associate.

Active in the Houston community, he serves as an emeritus member of the Council of Overseers for the Jesse H. Jones Graduate School of Management at Rice University. Martinez was inducted into the Texas Bankers Hall of Fame in April 2017 and recognized for his valuable contributions to the Texas banking industry.

Making an impact

As vice chairman of Allegiance Bank, Martinez manages new projects for the bank’s growth and works to both develop and manage various product projects and partnership opportunities.

Most recently, he and his team played an instrumental role in the creation and funding of the Future Bankers Leadership Program at Texas Southern University. In partnership with TBA, Allegiance Bank helped to support the new state-of-the-art HBCU banking program at TSU, Jesse H. Jones School of Business, which is expected to launch this fall.

In addition, he works with Allegiance Bank employees to educate them about the bank’s culture including its “You and Me model,” which promotes that all concerns are met between the employees, customers, investors, regulators and the community. The 15-hour educational training is available to 15 employees per class and to date, Martinez has instructed over 400 team members.

About Allegiance Bank

Since 2007, Allegiance Bank has been serving the Greater Houston area and neighboring communities by providing full-service banking solutions to serve the needs of owner-operated businesses, professionals and individual customers. Assisting both small and medium-sized businesses, the bank operates under a community banking philosophy and seeks to develop long-term customer relationships through extraordinary service.

Over the past 14 years, Allegiance Bank has showcased its commitment to fulfilling the concerns of its employees, customers, investors, regulators and the community. Today, the bank features 27 branches and boasts $6 billion in total assets.

“We do everything we can to support the lives of the individuals that work [at Allegiance Bank] and we expect that they will take care of our customers,” said Martinez. “We want our customers to be able to say in relationship with the bank that they’re winning. This allows both the bank and the customer to win and ensures that the customer’s needs are met.”

From marathons to rodeos, the bank’s commitment to giving back is the heart of its business. They are proud to volunteer and sponsor initiatives that benefit organizations, schools and residents in the communities they serve — and have supported over 131 community organizations including the Houston Food Bank, American Heart Association, CHRISTUS Foundation and Greater Houston Women’s Chamber of Commerce, to name a few.

In 2020 and for the last 11 consecutive years, Allegiance Bank was named a Top Workplace by the Houston Chronicle.

Outside of the bank

Longtime Houston residents, Martinez and his wife, Kathryn, have been married for 57 years and have five children: Martha, Barbara, Rebecca, Matt and Mark, as well as 14 grandchildren and two great-grandchildren. Martinez has attended Prince of Peace Catholic Community for 47 years.

In his spare time, he enjoys connecting with the land such as raising cattle and woodworking at their farm in Plantersville.

Who is your hero?
James Bond

What is your favorite book?
"The Fifth Discipline” by Peter M. Senge

What is your favorite movie?

Who is your favorite President?
Ronald Reagan

What is your favorite sports team?
Rice Owls Baseball Team

What is your favorite quote?
“Without integrity nothing works.”