Community Banker Spotlight

Stephen Raffaele

A career built on relationships

Stephen Raffaele
CEO & President, American Bank, Austin

With more than 30 years of experience, Stephen Raffaele was drawn to the financial services industry for its relationship-driven environment.

“Growing up, I was most impressed with my father’s banker, Clark C. Munroe, president of the Cullen/Frost, formerly Liberty National Bank, location on Blanco Road in San Antonio,” said Raffaele. “He was a professional but kind man who cared about relationships and the community — something I never forgot.”

Today, Raffaele serves as the CEO and president at American Bank in Austin. He is responsible for managing and providing leadership to the bank’s executive team, as well as developing and leading the strategic planning initiatives that ensure the long-term growth and profitability of the bank.

Achieving career success

Originally from San Antonio, Raffaele is a chartered financial analyst (CFA) and received his bachelor’s degree in business with concentrations in financial services and classical Greek from Baylor University.

After completing his undergraduate studies, Raffaele began his career in the finance side of the industry and soon after entered the banking world. He quickly rose through the ranks, gaining valuable experience in mergers and acquisitions, valuation and investment management and later worked as a consultant and strategist with many banks across the country.

“[Throughout] my career, I’ve lived and worked in almost all the major cities in Texas and have grown to know all of them well,” added Raffaele. “I love our state and everything about Texas and Texas banking!”

Raffaele has held various C-level positions and/or board roles with several financial organizations throughout the state of Texas, including F&M Bank & Trust Co. and Guaranty Bank, both in Dallas, as well as Sterling Bank in Houston. Before joining the American Bank team, he was a partner in a large wealth management firm in Dallas and helped start Dallas Capital Bank as an investor and board member. 

“Looking back, the thing that I’ve enjoyed most in my career is the relationships that I’ve developed across the state and the contributions I’ve been able to make to the careers of some of our bankers,” Raffaele said.

In 2016, Raffaele joined American Bank as senior executive vice president and chief operating officer. A year later, he was promoted to president and chief operating officer and in 2019, he became CEO and president and serves on the board of the bank and its holding company.

Raffaele is actively involved in both the banking industry and the community. He currently serves on TBA Services Company’s Board of Directors as chairman. In addition, he is a board member of the Art Museum of South Texas and is actively involved with several faith-based organizations, including his church. Raffaele has also been involved with many other charitable organizations, including Boy Scouts of America and the Salvation Army.

About American Bank

Founded in 1970, American Bank originated in Corpus Christi and was built to serve the developing south side. For more than 50 years, the bank has continued to expand its footprint beyond the Gulf Coast and into Central Texas and other parts of the state. 

“Our brand promise is to delight our clients with an exceptional, technology-enabled, banking experience built on relationships and service levels that are significantly higher than other banks,” Raffaele said. 

During the new millennium, the bank’s reach continued to expand throughout Central Texas, South Texas and the Coastal Bend. American Bank also secured the naming rights to Corpus Christi’s new arena, auditorium and convention center complex now known as the American Bank Center.

In the last several years, the bank embarked on an ambitious vision and expansion plan that outlined a path toward becoming a leading Texas regional bank. As part of this strategy, American Bank opened locations in the Houston and San Antonio markets in 2018.

“Our plan for growth and investment reflected a deep commitment by the bank’s shareholders, board and management to provide sophisticated, high-touch, independent, community banking to the many clients that have either outgrown the capabilities of their existing local bank or that find themselves underserved by the large national banks,” Raffaele added.

Today, American Bank maintains more than 20 branch and ATM locations and specializes in super-community commercial and private banking. American Bank features a strong suite of banking solutions for businesses and individuals that includes a full range of treasury management and wealth management products and services. 

American Bank believes that the future depends on the growth and vitality of the communities in which they serve. In every geographic market, its bankers invest their time, talent and experience to support a wide range of nonprofits including the Pangea Network, American Heart Association and many other community organizations that make those communities better places to live and work.

American Bank also provides financial support for economic development initiatives, higher education opportunities and many other community development and quality-of-life projects and organizations such as the Corpus Christi Regional Economic Development Corporation, Aransas County Economic Development Corporation, Opportunity Austin and Texas A&M Corpus Christi’s South Texas Institute for Economic and Business Development, to name a few.

Outside of the bank

Raffaele enjoys spending time with his wife of 34 years, Catherine, and their three children Stephen, Lauren and Grace, as well as their two grandchildren, Jackson and Wade.

In his spare time, he enjoys hunting, boating, fishing, reading and listening to music, as well as quality time with his family and friends at their ranch in Caldwell County.

Who is your hero?
My father, Gary Raffaele, who has consistently modeled kindness, faithfulness, hard work, faith and commitment to family.

What are your favorite books?
“Pilgrim’s Progress” by John Bunyan and “Lone Star: A History of Texas and The Texans” by T. R. Fehrenbach.

What is your favorite movie?
“The Four Feathers.”

Who is your favorite President?
Abraham Lincoln.

What is your favorite sports team?
I enjoy watching Baylor Bears athletics especially football and basketball.

What is your favorite quote?
“Thoughts lead on to purposes; purposes go forth in action; actions form habits; habits decide character; and character fixes our destiny” — Tyron Edwards