News Column

TCBA names Don Waters Banker of the Year

January 1, 2014

Palmer, Donny

The Tarrant County Bankers Association recently announced their Outstanding Banker of the Year at the last quarterly luncheon of 2013. Don Waters , chairman of the board and CEO of Liberty Bank in Hurst , was presented the award by TCBA member and Liberty Bank Market President Laura Miller , who nominated Waters. What follows are the remarks she made in her nomination: " Don Waters' banking career in Tarrant County spans 38 years and counting. More important than just tenure, however, are his contributions to our industry and his outstanding leadership. Don's route to being a banker was unusual; he came to banking from academia. Don has a Ph.D. in economics from Mississippi State University and was an economics and finance professor at Northeast Louisiana University prior to joining our industry in 1974. "His understanding of the economy, both fiscal and monetary policy, has served him and the banks he has worked for, as economic and regulatory issues have increased in complexity, significance and importance. He is excellent at communicating his assessment of the risk and the impact on our industry and institutions. "Don joined Northeast National Bank as assistant to the president in 1974. He rose quickly through the ranks and served as president from 1979 through 1985. He contributed significantly to the growth of Northeast Bank and the Mid-Cities market, as the bank's primary focus was funding developers and builders as the rooftops grew in that segment of Tarrant County . Don also made loans to businesses and individuals in support of the area's growth. In 1985, Northeast Bank was sold to Allied Bancshares of Houston . "Don was (and is) a community banker at heart, so when the owners of North Texas Bancshares asked him to be president of Bank of North Texas , he joined them. During his tenure at BNT, Don led the bank in all of its lending activities and achieved much notoriety for its meteoric growth in SBA lending BNT became the fifth largest SBA program in the United States . They were closing $60-70 million per year, which was very large at the time. Don led BNT until the bank was sold to First Interstate in 1995. "Once again, the call of community banking lured him to Summit Bancshares . Don joined Summit in 1995 and opened the company's first foray into Northeast Tarrant County . Don recruited many outstanding bankers and grew the bank's footprint in the northeast market. He was named the senior bank president, with all market presidents reporting to him. He was instrumental in the growth of this publicly traded community bank until its acquisition by Frost Bank in 2006. "Don's belief in the importance of community banking and its vital role in developing our markets led him to join forces with the Liberty Bank directors and owners. In September 2008 , Don joined Liberty Bank as president and CEO. During the last four years. Don has recruited experienced talent, opened new markets and has more than tripled the size of Liberty Bank , a 25-year plus member of the Tarrant County banking industry. "Don has also made a difference in his community throughout his career. His board involvement includes the Northeast Chamber of Commerce , Northeast Lions Club , North Richland Hills Hospital and North Richland Hills Baptist Church . "Don is a southern gentleman, first and foremost. He is of impeccable manners and character, which is extended to customers and colleagues alike. "For those of us who have experienced Don's 'teachable moments,' it is easy to see that he was a successful teacher/scholar. Thank goodness he moved to Tarrant County and has brought his reasoned, thoughtful approach to banking and particularly to four locally owned and managed Tarrant County banks. He is deserving of this recognition for both the breadth and depth of his service to Tarrant County and our industry." TBA joins Laura and the TCBA in congratulating Don for his outstanding service to the Fort Worth area and the Texas banking industry! ^ "[Waters'] understanding of the economy, both fiscal and monetary policy, has served him and the banks he has worked for, as economic and regulatory issues have increased in complexity, significance and importance. " Past recipients 2000: L.O. "Buzz" Brightbill 2001 : Vernon Bryant 2002: John Gavin 2003: Bob Semple 2004: Sue Turnage 2005: Phil Norwood 2006: Lynn Montgomery 2007: Gene Gray 2008: Danny Smith 2009: Ben Gunn / Jim Murray 2010: George Bradford 2011: Charlie Powell 2012: Tom Cravens By Donny Palmer , TBA Member Relations Officer

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Source: Texas Banking

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