July 12--With the growing distrust of banks "too big to fail," local banker Roy Thompson thinks people will flock to the new Texas Hill Country Bank branch recently opened in Kerrville.
"I think there's a big difference between a community bank and a large national bank," said Thompson, president and CEO. "A community bank knows the people by their character, their reputation and their background. We can look at more than a person's credit score."
Texas Hill Country Bank, formerly Bandera First State Bank, is one of two new locally owned banks coming to Kerrville. Texas Hill Country Bank will have its grand opening in August, while Community First National Bank is looking to open in October.
Kent McKinney, the largest shareholder in Guadalupe National Bank, also is a majority owner of Community First National Bank. McKinney said he and the other investors filed this week for regulatory approval through the U.S. Treasury Department, a process that can take up to three months.
They also recently signed a lease on a storefront at 305 Sidney Baker St. South, in the H-E-B shopping center.
"Most banks have a lot of the same services, but we think we can give a little better service, and we've got local people involved and local ownership involved," McKinney said.
Texas Hill Country Bank recently opened at 719 Hill Country Drive with combined assets of $55 million. The Kerrville branch is its second, and the bank continues to operated in Bandera at 800 Main St.
Thompson, formerly with Wells Fargo and Union State Bank, said their goal in opening the new branch in Kerrville is to help their customers grow.
"Our interest is in being able to see that their businesses thrive and can grow," he said.
Thompson said a big advantage in community banks is local ownership and management, which include Tom Gould and Stormy Boyd.
"I think the number of years they've been in banking in Kerr County allows them to make quick decisions not only on your loan but on any need," Thompson said.
Community First National Bank will be the fifth bank McKinney has helped start. He previously helped open three community banks in Kansas, along with Guadalupe National Bank in Kerrville.
"There are a lot of options out there, but the community can always benefit from having some choices," McKinney said.
The Kerrville Area Chamber of Commerce lists 11 banks as members, not including some national banks such as Bank of America or credit unions.
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