Bigger is Not Always Better

March 10, 2015

Sometimes when I am telling the Business Bank of Texas story, people are surprised and even doubtful to hear that our bank can help businesses with the same products and services as the big banks. In reality, our smaller and more responsive organization, dedicated only to serving the banking needs of businesses, can be even more effective.

Back when I started my banking career, there were a lot of choices for bank customers with banks of every size in almost every town. With the onset of interstate branching and over two decades of mergers and acquisitions, this picture has changed dramatically. The four biggest banks— Citigroup, Wells Fargo, JP Morgan Chase, and Bank of America—control over 40% of bank assets in the country. The top twenty control well over 60% of assets. These banking behemoths have come to dominate in many markets, and with less competition there can be fewer choices for bank customers.

The problem of big bank consolidation was brought home to me with a story related by one of our newer customers. He had a longstanding relationship with one of the big four, and went to his bank officer there to request a loan for $180,000 to fund a business transaction. This businessman had a long and exemplary credit record with this bank, a high net worth, and demonstrable cash flows more than adequate to service the debt. His bank officer assured him that the loan would be granted, but much to his chagrin, the underwriters turned him down. Apparently the word had come down that their big bank would no longer make any loans of this type, no matter the creditworthiness of the borrower. Appeals up the chain of command proved futile.

His experience at Business Bank of Texas would have been far different. All of our commercial relationship officers are experienced veterans, and can do their own credit underwriting with support from our credit department as needed. They each have sufficient credit authority to approve the type of loan that our new customer was seeking. For larger loans, our “Loan Committee” consists of the loan officer, our Chief Credit Officer, and me, which assures quick and decisive action on every request. The largest and most complex loans go to our Board of Directors for approval, with the loan officer often presenting the request in person to the members.

I think this is our biggest difference: Every Business Bank of Texas customer has access to the top decision makers, something that is just not possible in one of the big banks.

Over the last seven years, we have purpose-built our bank to serve the credit and transactional needs of businesses. We have put together a competent team of professionals, and given them the tools and the authority to provide responsive and personalized service. Our e-mail addresses and cell phone numbers are published on our website, and our phones are answered not by machines, but by real human beings. If you or your business is being lost in the big bank shuffle, come see how it feels to be treated like a valuable customer again.

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Topics: The Corner Office

Ed Lette

Business Bank of Texas

Ed Lette is a Founder of Business Bank of Texas. Serving as a licensed CPA since 1983, Ed’s extensive experience in the banking industry has led him to become the founding president of four national bank charters including Business Bank of Texas, N.A., and the chief financial officer of five national banks during his 45 year career. Ed serves as director of the Texas Bankers Association District 4, chairman of the Executive Advisory Council to the School of Business at Texas Lutheran University, and is a life member of the Texas Association of Business.
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