12 Banks Recognized with Cornerstone and LiFE Awards
The Texas Bankers Foundation, the philanthropic arm of the Texas Bankers Association, honored 12 banks with Cornerstone and Leaders in Financial Education (LiFE) awards this year. The Cornerstone Award recognizes excellence in community involvement by Texas banks. The following banks were honored with the 2020 Cornerstone Award:
CommunityBank of Texas, N.A.: Houston-based CommunityBank of Texas, N.A. received a Cornerstone Award for its Families Feeding Families event. The program, which is coordinated by the bank’s Tomball branch and others in the Tomball community, started in 2010. The first event provided 500 hot meals to low- to moderate-income categories the day before Thanksgiving. Recognizing there was a vastly underserved segment of the community, the event has continued and grown through the years. In 2019, 2,200 people were fed; meals were delivered to nursing homes, assisted living facilities and door-to-door in an impoverished Tomball community. Flu shots, haircuts, a clothing and food pantry, kids’ entertainment and games and financial and literacy resources were also provided.
First National Bank of Gilmer: First National Bank of Gilmer was honored for its Chromebooks for Success program. Understanding that the financial strain of college can be difficult for some students and their families, the bank decided to identify deserving students and award them with a new Chromebook to help them achieve success as they work toward a college degree. The selection of the students was based on grades, financial need and enrollment in a dual credit program to receive college credit while finishing high school. The bank donated a total of 49 laptops during the 2018-2019 school year to students in 10 school districts. The bank believes this program will help these students who want to improve their communities by improving themselves.
First National Bank Texas:Killeen-based First National Bank Texas received a Cornerstone Award for its contribution to the 14-Forward initiative. In 2018, the bank joined the Greater Killeen Chamber of Commerce and other local businesses to launch this new economic development initiative. The initiative has three goals: to enhance employment opportunities in high growth industries; to support partnerships that are mutually beneficial for local businesses and the U.S. Army at Fort Hood; and to invest in the infrastructure in Killeen. The bank’s contribution to the initiative has been as one of the primary funders, committing $200,000 with a matching challenge to other local banks. Employees of the bank are also serving on the initiative’s board and committees.
First State Bank and Trust Company: Carthage-based First State Bank and Trust Company was honored for establishing the Chris Dickerson Memorial Scholarship at Panola College. After Panola County Sheriff’s Deputy Dickerson was killed in the line of duty, the bank wanted to honor the sacrifice first responders and their families make to ensure the community’s safety and to honor the life and service of Deputy Dickerson. The scholarship will be awarded annually to a Panola College student who is a current first responder or a dependent of a first responder. First State Bank and Trust Company felt that establishing a scholarship would be a great way to offer support for generations to come.
FirstCapital Bank of Texas: Midland-based FirstCapital Bank of Texas was recognized for its annual Christmas with Bonham event. FirstCapital Bank team members are encouraged to get involved with different community events and organizations. One such partnership is with Bonham Elementary School in Midland, where the bank has provided the school with resources and volunteers for many years. The annual holiday-themed event is held at the bank’s West branch, which is decorated for the event. The children are always excited to be greeted by team members dressed as elves, snowmen and other Christmas characters, and they receive complimentary pictures with Santa. The event brings true joy to the families, many of whom attend the event every single year, making it a family tradition.
North Dallas Bank: North Dallas Bank received a Cornerstone Award for its NDB Cares program. NDB Cares, an employee-led initiative, was launched in 2019. It was created to bring a more formalized and strategic approach to the bank’s service efforts. The vision statement for NDB Cares is, “Fulfilling our mission through care and community service.” From efforts as simple as volunteering time to supporting winter coat drives and making instrumental monetary contributions to organizations devoted to improving the community, NDB Cares has helped improve stewardship of the bank’s resources so more can be achieved. It also lets the community know that the banking industry is comprised of capable, caring and compassionate people who make service a priority in their lives.
Southside Bank:Tyler-based Southside Bank received a Cornerstone Award for its Retail Banking Internship Program. Tyler ISD’s Career & Technology Center gives high school students an opportunity to explore a variety of career pathways, but the program had limited opportunities in a business or finance pathway. In 2019, the bank partnered with the school district to launch its internship program. During the 16-week program, interns complete a minimum of 100 working hours alongside a Southside Bank mentor. The interns attended training at the Corporate Training Office and visited several of the bank’s departments. One of the goals of the program is for students to be equipped to transition seamlessly out of high school and into the work force. Two of the interns received an employment offer from the bank.
The following banks were honored with LiFE awards:
Comerica Bank: Dallas-based Comerica Bank was recognized for its partnership with The EMPOWER Series, which is a free monthly financial education and self-development coaching and counseling program. Each month, experts address a financial education or an empowerment topic and share their personal testimony of overcoming adversity to achieve their goals. The series topics include improving money management decisions, financial literacy and helping people become better stewards of their resources – ideas, time, relationships and money. The series was so well received in Dallas in 2018 that Comerica launched a Greater Houston edition in partnership with the Houston Urban League in 2019. In fall 2019, the EMPOWER Series expanded in a podcast series.
First National Bank of Shiner: First National Bank of Shiner received an award for its 100th Day of School event. For the last five years, the bank has invited the kindergarten & first grade classes to celebrate their 100th day of the school year with a visit to the bank. The students visit different financial literacy stations that have been set up based on their grade level. Stations include needs versus wants; spend, save, give; savings accounts; setting a savings goal; counting money; what 100 coins look like; and skip counting. After visiting the stations, students are taken behind the scenes of the bank, where they learn basic financial literacy and how each department within the bank operates. The bank believes teaching the kids in this age group will produce financially responsible adults in the future.
First National Bank Texas: Killeen-based First National Bank Texas received a LiFE Award for its partnership with the Dallas LIFE homeless shelter. In 2016, First Convenience Bank, a division of the bank, began the partnership at the prompting of a customer. What is unique about the shelter is their New Life Program, a 10-month program that includes four phases to prepare residents for life beyond homelessness. The bank supports the financial wellness component of the program. FCB employees say that they have been just as impacted by the program as their students and seek other opportunities to help with needs at the shelter. In 2019, the bank donated $5,000 to Dallas LIFE to support the construction of an on-site daycare facility.
TBK Bank, SSB: Dallas-based TBK Bank, SSB was honored for its partnership with a local nonprofit organization, Ascendant Community Education, to provide fraud prevention education for senior adults. Presentations covered a few common types of scams the attendees might fall victim to and how to respond if they are a victim of fraud. Types of safety protocols banks have in place to protect their customers, the risks associated with establishing a Power of Attorney and signs of Caregiver Abuse were also discussed. After the event, TBK Bank shared the presentation curriculum internally for team members in other markets to use in providing an Elder Financial Protection curriculum in their own communities.
WestStar Bank: El Paso-based WestStar Bank received an award for its support of Junior Achievement of the Desert Southwest. For the last 16 years, the bank has provided team members to serve on the organization’s board. Bank employees have taught JA classes in schools throughout El Paso County. Their commitment to supporting the financial literacy programs is critical to enhancing the development of students, especially in low- to moderate-income schools. The bank is very involved in the organization’s two signature fundraising events each year, the El Paso Business Hall of Fame Banquet and the Bowl-a-thon. The bank has been the title sponsor of the banquet since 2017 and in 2019, WestStar fielded 38 Bowl-a-thon teams and raised $47,207.