First State Bank is expanding its reach.
FSB — the oldest surviving state bank in Texas — has eight branches and has two additional branches slated to open over the next two years, FSB Executive Vice President Ryan Morris said.
“We were originally formed as First State Bank of Gainesville in August, 1905 and have served the local community for 106 years,” Morris said. “First State Bank began to expand geographically in the mid-90s, first with the new Lake Kiowa branch and the purchase of North Texas Bank and Trust located in front of what is now the Home Depot on East U.S. Highway 82.
“Since then we have branched into Valley View and Denton. In 2008 we acquired First National Bank of Saint Jo to add locations in both Saint Jo and Muenster,” Morris continued. “Our newest branch in the Rayzor Ranch development on U.S. 380 in Denton opened last year. Our next location, on Teasley Lane, will be called the Denton South Branch and is planned to open in October of this year.”
Morris said the bank has also acquired a building for a fourth Denton County branch expected to open in 2012.
The bank is also run by top-notch managers who know their way through tough economic times.
“Our CEO and president have been with the bank through the troubled 1980s and 90s,through the dot-com bubble, and now the mortgage meltdown,” Morris said. “It's not just the same organization, but the same management team who have led the bank through these major downturns. This is strong evidence that our management philosophy has been successful.”
At a time when the federal economic downturn has left many worried about the stability of financial institutions, Morris said FSB continues to weather the crisis.
“Compared to what you've seen in the news, we've been very conservatively managed and unaffected by the sub-prime mortgage collapse,” Morris said. “We are well-capitalized and have excellent liquidity which are key measures of a bank's safety and soundness.”
In addition to financial fitness, Morris said First State Bank has long been a supporter of the communities it serves.
“A hallmark of our bank is the amount of community support we provide,” he said. “Our general philosophy is, if it's good for the community we serve, it's good for the bank.”
Evidence of that commitment, Morris said, is in the amount of both monetary and non-monetary support the bank earmarks for local nonprofit organizations each year.
"We have budgeted to spend almost 10 percent of our 2011 net income on community support and not-for-profit contributions," Morris said.
The list of FSB beneficiaries includes some nonprofit heavy hitters.
“We have been longtime supporters of United Way. We are United Way Pacesetters in both Cooke and Denton counties. We're also involved in Relay for Life and are staunch supporters of the Frank Buck Zoo and all the local schools.”
Community support goes beyond monetary contributions, he added. “We don't just write checks,” Morris said. “Our employees give a tremendous amount of time. People from our bank serve on elected and appointed boards for the local schools, hospital, chambers of commerce and economic development corporations. We have members in all of the service clubs including the Rotary, Optimist, Lions and Kiwanis Clubs. We will contribute over 150 volunteer hours to community service this year.”
Arguably a venerable institution, FSB also keeps pace with technology, Morris noted.
“We have internet banking, mobile banking, free bill pay, and are now preparing to launch a new iPhone app to allow customers to access all of our mobile banking features,” he said.
First State also has a Facebook page.
“We launched our Facebook page in July,” Morris said.
“We are not planning to use it for advertising. We intend to provide a lot of good and relevant financial, banking, and community information. We've always prided ourselves on being accessible to our customers, and we know that social media is the way many people prefer to interact today. This will help First State stay connected to our customers and interact with them outside of our physical locations.”
The bank is also hoping Facebook users will visit the site for philanthropic purposes. “We are currently running a promotion on Facebook,” Morris said. “If our page reaches 750 "likes" by August 31, we are going to donate $2,500 to the Frank Buck Zoological Society. We felt like that would be a fun way to engage our Cooke County community online as well as support one of our favorite not-for-profits.”
With such a large customer base, it isn't difficult to imagine FSB surpassing that goal. Morris said the FDIC's most recent reports indicate approximately 60 percent of deposit dollars in Gainesville are with First State.
FSB also gets high marks for customer service.
“We recently conducted a customer satisfaction survey and found that 99.2 percent of respondents said they would recommend us to a friend which is extremely high for the industry,” Morris said. “We are also a Cooke County market leader in mortgages both commercial and residential. We do both construction and long-term fixed-rate mortgages.”
First State Bank is expanding its reach.
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