Walter had a vision of what a strong financial institution could be. He imagined one that was fully committed to providing capital for Texas businesses and entrepreneurs, one that relied on local decision makers and one that honored service and championed technology. He knew that Texans would want a bank large enough to offer the products and services of big banks, but with a Texas feel and understanding. He also imagined a bank that was immersed in the community.
Walter convinced 135 Texans to make an investment to help establish a bank built by Texans – for Texans. He raised $13.5 million in new capital, established a strong local board, began building a management team and changed the name of a fledgling bank, Northwest Crossing, to Southwest Bank of Texas. In February of 1990, this new bank started with one branch, 20 people and $50 million in assets.
In January 1997, the Bank’s holding company, Southwest Bancorporation of Texas, Inc., went public. The market value of the Company surged from $160 million to about $1.5 billion in 2005. Shareholders experienced a healthy return of 24% compounded annual growth rate since the initial public offering.
Southwest Bank focused exclusively on internal growth until 1997 when it acquired Pinemont Bank, an independent bank located on the northwest side of Houston. In 1999, external growth continued with the merger with Fort Bend Federal Savings & Loan, located primarily in southwest Houston, and its subsidiary Mitchell Mortgage. In 2000, the Bank expanded into the Baytown area with Citizens Bank and Trust Co., and with Maxim Bank into the League City and north Galveston County areas in 2003.
Two additional mergers took place in 2004. Lone Star Bank provided a strong foundation on which to build the Bank’s presence in the Dallas-Fort Worth Metroplex and an operations center was opened in Dallas to serve the north Texas market. Klein Bank, with its 27 locations in the northwest Houston area, also expanded the Bank’s footprint.
As the Bank’s success grew and as both its geographic presence and products expanded, the name “Southwest Bank of Texas” no longer fit. In fact, that name could not be used outside of the 10-county Houston area; there were two other Texas banks with the same name, and more than 20 financial companies shared at least part of the name. In early 2005, the name was changed to Amegy Bank of Texas – a name that reflects the energy of the people in America.
In late 2005, Amegy Bank of Texas became a member of the Zions Bancorporation collection of great banks. Retaining its charter, name, board and management team, Amegy became the third largest bank of Zions’ eight community banking companies. Zions operates its banking businesses under local management teams and community identities through nearly 600 offices and 600 ATMs in eight Western and Southwestern states.
In early 2007, Amegy Bank announced its expansion into the San Antonio, which is one of the fastest growing cities in the nation. In June 2007, Amegy announced its acquisition of Intercontinental Bank (Intercon), a $111 million bank with three locations and close ties to the San Antonio community.
Today, Amegy Bank is known as The ‘A’ Bank because we strive to earn an A from our customers, employees, communities and shareholders every day.