2024 – Finally here
Happy New Year, Texas bankers! The challenging year of 2023 is finally in the rear-view mirror. I know that both our TBA staff and all of you worked extremely hard to meet all the challenges of last year during such uncertain times in the banking industry. Texas bankers stood tall once again and your financial performance during these times was still very strong.
Congratulations to your banks, board members and employees for performing so well under these tough circumstances.
I have said all year long in my travels representing TBA that Texas banks are strong, well-capitalized, profitable and are still supporting our local communities like we always have done. As we welcome in 2024, the challenges in our banking industry are still with us. We all hope that interest rates have peaked and might even head down some time later this year. We will continue to experience pressure on our net interest margin into 2024, as most of the headwinds of 2023 are still with us. However, I know that Texas bankers will stand tall once again in 2024 and make our local communities shine.
Texas is now the eighth largest economy in the world, which is not surprising, but just amazing. Community banks have played a huge role in getting us to this new milestone. So, let’s take a look at a growing segment in Texas banking. I am speaking of “Women in Banking.”
Women now play a major role at TBA and across our Texas community banks. I’m very proud that Jan Mills, president & chairman of the board at First National Bank of Winnsboro, will become TBA’s next Chairman later this year at our May convention. She is not just a great leader and hard worker — she has earned the respect of bankers across the State of Texas.
TBA now has seven women on our Board of Directors who are making significant contributions to our success. I believe this number will only grow in the future.
I would like to highlight one of our Board members, Hazel Davis, vice president, compliance manager & corporate responsibility officer at Jefferson Bank in San Antonio, who is also currently Chair of the Texas Bankers Foundation. Her leadership of our Foundation has just been outstanding. She has already been recognized by both the ABA and TBA as an Emerging Leader. I want to personally thank all the women who work at both TBA and our Texas community banks. Job well done!!!
Let’s move on to the 2024 Washington Summit, which will take place March 17-20. I urge all of our Texas bankers to consider joining us this year in Washington, D.C. TBA’s Celeste Embrey will again put together a great program along with congressional visits. I can’t think of a more important time for Texas bankers to advocate on behalf of our industry. The regulatory environment is getting more complicated every year — we must tell the story of what Texas community banks and bankers are doing so well to make our communities stronger. Contrary to what some would have us believe, community bankers are not the bad guys. We will all stand tall together as we visit Washington, D.C., in March again this year. Thank you in advance to all of you who will be participating with TBA on this important trip.
Finally, I want to close my remarks on this issue by highlighting the role of Human Resource directors and officers. First, let me say that Sarah Maldonado, vice president, human resources at TBA, is making major contributions as she leads this area for us. She has brought organization and professionalism, helped keep TBA on track and added to our very positive culture that has been created — our strong performance proves that year after year.
Be sure you all take time to appreciate your Human Resource director. They can make or break an organization, and remember, they oversee our most precious asset — our people. So, with that, I will give a shout-out to Lee Rodriguez, EVP & chief human resources officer at WestStar Bank who serves on our executive management team and on the TBA HR & Operations committee. I rely on Lee every day to make our culture thrive year after year. Lee, thank you so much!
Let’s make 2024 a great year and I pray God’s blessings on Texas Bankers as we move forward together.