history, mission, core values
On Monday July 1, 1907, First State Bank of Uvalde opened its doors for business. Except for a government ordered "bank holiday" during the Great Depression, the bank has never failed to open for business at the appointed hour ever since. The first officers of the fledgling bank were A. R. Bowman, President; I. L. Martin, Vice President and D. W. Barnhill, Cashier. The capital stock for Uvalde's newest financial institution in 1907 was valued at $30,000.
The bank occupied several temporary buildings in the following years including the corner of North Getty and West Nopal Streets.
In 1913, T. H. McNelly, George Kennedy and John Nance Garner bought controlling interest in First State Bank. Garner was serving as U.S. Congressman at the time and would become Vice President of the United States in 1932.
|1907 – Our first location was in Barnhill’s Drug Store, downtown Uvalde.
|1920-30s – second location, corner of West Nopal St. & North Getty St.
In 1927, Garner's son Tully became president of the bank and remained in that office until 1934, when cashier J. H. Ashby succeeded him.
1940-50s – third location, West North St., facing the Plaza
Change in Control
On October 30, 1960, bank president Ashby announced that Dolph Briscoe, Jr. bought a controlling interest in the bank. The assets of the bank in those days were less than nine million dollars. Briscoe, who earlier had served eight years in the State Legislature, would be elected as Governor of Texas and serve from 1973-1979.
On July 16, 1961, the assets of First State Bank reached the $10 million mark for the first time in the bank's history.
|1960s – fourth location, corner of North Piper Lane & West Nopal St.
On June 1, 1970, Lewis E. Bracy, Jr. was named president of First State Bank. In subsequent years he was promoted to Chairman and CEO. With a career that spanned a total of 39 years of service, he set the record as the longest serving chief executive officer in the history of the bank.
On October 24, 1970, First State Bank held an "Open House and Fiesta" to formally dedicate its new and permanent home, the building it occupies today. Bank Senior Chairman Briscoe wrote in his public message for the event what has become a guiding philosophy of the bank: "We want to carry on our tradition of service to a growing community and area. We will strive to always hold high the banner of progress that has been our trademark from the very first day in 1907, when the First State Bank opened its doors."
In 1977, the Bank completed a major addition to the west side of the existing building. An almost mirror version of the East Lobby was created as well as a full basement. The new addition contained the Bank President’s office and the Commercial Loan Department, while the basement housed the Operations and Data Processing Departments.
In July 1982 the Bank observed its 75th Anniversary. In addition to refreshments and music, the celebration included drawings for door prizes consisting of several locally produced items. Among the larger of the many prize items were: five pounds of shelled pecans, twenty sacks of Corn, a five- gallon container of Uvalde Honey, a bale of Cotton, and the grand prize was a Longhorn Steer. As expected, in some cases, instead of the prize the winners elected to accept the cash equivalent. In the fall of 1982, the bank also marked the 1st Anniversary of operations of the Bank’s First 24-Teller Walk Up ATM, a major step forward in banking technology at the time.
1970 – Present, our fifth and headquarters location, 200 E. Nopal St.
In 1985 First State Bank assisted Uvalde Memorial Hospital in providing financing for the first Tomographic Scanner, or “Cat Scan” in our area. This state-of-the-art piece of equipment allowed the Hospital to perform these types of scans locally, saving people in the area from driving many miles for this service and helping maintain Uvalde’s deserved reputation as a regional medical center.
In the last half of the 1980s, the Bank, as well as the entire State, experienced financial turbulence as the Texas Real Estate Crisis began to be felt and banks statewide began to stumble and fall. The conservative banking philosophy of First State Bank began to be recognized by worried consumers and the deposits of the Bank began to grow rapidly. The Bank’s tag line of Strong, Sound and Secure was introduced and it resonated with existing customers as well.
Branch Locations and More
In 1991, First State Bank opened its first three branch bank locations in Camp Wood, Sabinal and Utopia. The Bank never operated in more than one location. Two years later, in May of 1993, the Bank completed a major renovation of the ATM facilities at the Bank’s Main location in downtown to create Uvalde’s first Drive -Up ATM and Drive Up Night Deposit facilities. Former First Lady of Texas Janey Briscoe attended to cut the ribbon at the opening ceremony. ATMs where added to the Bank’s three Branch Bank locations in 1996.
In 1998 First State Bank became the first financial institution to open a second location in Uvalde, when the Bank purchased and remodeled the former Central Power and Light building at 2100 East Main Street as its fourth branch location. The Branch opened with three drive up tellers and five inside teller stations, and ATM and night depository vault.
In 1999, the Bank joined other businesses in planning for the potential consequences of the “Y2K” (Year 2,000) computer disaster. In spite of great uncertainty surrounding the internal calendars of computers causing them to crash worldwide, following the arrival of January 1, 2000, Bank President Lewis Bracy reassured our customers we would continue to provide “…the very best banking services through Year 2000 and beyond.” As it turned out, Y2K was a non-event and most computers simply reset themselves.
Two major events were on the calendar in 2002, the grand opening of a new building for the Utopia Branch, with Governor Briscoe and his daughter Janey Briscoe Marmion attending the ribbon cutting, and the introduction of FSB Online, which for the first time gave customers computer access to their accounts 24 hours a day, seven days a week.
In the summer of 2004, the Concan Branch became the Bank’s fifth branch location. The building was constructed to also house the U.S. Post Office for Concan. The purpose of the branch was to serve customers in Concan, Reagan Wells, Rio Frio and Leakey. In 2005, First State Bank was given the opportunity to purchase the former Union State Bank in Carrizo Springs creating its sixth branch, serving the communities of Carrizo Springs, Asherton, Big Wells and other parts of Dimmit County. The following year, on December 21, 2006, the Bank cut the ribbon on its seventh branch, the Frio Canyon Branch at Leakey. Previously, the owners of the Bank of Frio Canyon approached First State Bank with an offer to sale. Governor Briscoe, his granddaughter Kate Marmion and her mother Janey Briscoe Marmion cut the ribbon for the opening, which coincided with Christmas Open House festivities.
A New Era
In July 2007, First State Bank of Uvalde observed its 100th Anniversary. In their joint letter to the public Bank Chairman former Texas Governor Dolph Briscoe and Bank President Lewis Bracy noted the humble beginnings of the Bank, which started with total assets of less than $60,000. In the intervening years, the small community bank slowly grew despite the events of the times, including two world wars, and three major economic disasters including “The Great Depression.” In its first 100 years the Bank’s assets grew to $400 million, prompting Governor Briscoe to declare “The best is yet to come.”, which by the way has become our corporate motto.
On June 27, 2010 Bank Senior Chairman and majority stockholder Dolph Briscoe passed away, following a 51-year association with First State Bank. Then Chairman Dickie G. Geries stated in a letter to the Bank’s Stockholders “Any attempt to measure the impact Governor Briscoe had upon the success of First State Bank and its continued growth over the past fifty years would fall short. Suffice it to say, the governor’s leadership built the Bank and we today are all beneficiaries of his efforts.” Ironically, in the prior year, Lewis E. Bracy, the Governor’s friend and the Bank’s Chairman and CEO passed suddenly while still serving in his capacity at the Bank.
In 2012 following the passing of Governor Briscoe and after 105 years of steady increases, the total assets of the Bank reached the $1 Billion dollar mark.
In 2014, the East Main Street Branch in Uvalde underwent major renovations to its roof system, façade and ATM. When completed it could no longer be recognized as the former Central Power and Light office building but as a full-service bank Branch.
In late 2017 Bank Chairman and CEO Dickie G. Geries announced his retirement. In his letter to the Bank’s stockholders, Chairman Geries said “…I can’t emphasize enough how honored I have been to work at First State Bank of Uvalde for almost 36 years.”
In November 2017 the board nominated and appointed Mr. Chip Briscoe as Chairman of the Board. The board also hired and named Chad D. Stary President and CEO of the Bank. In his first comments at the annual stockholders meeting, he said “I am forever grateful to have this opportunity and hope each of you will know what an amazing financial institution First State Bank of Uvalde is.”
Since 2018 the Bank has ushered in a whole slate of new banking products and services, including major advancements in electronic banking and new products. Efforts were made in overall Bank branding as well as adding new departments and streamlining operations. Additional loan offerings were made with a Small Dollar Loan Program to meet the borrowing needs of consumers, formalizing a mortgage department with secondary market home mortgages, and offering SBA loan programs.
In 2019, First State Bank observed the 50th Anniversary of operations in our iconic headquarters building. During the celebration, President Chad D. Stary noted our exceptional bank building, which has become a Uvalde landmark, recognized statewide. He gave credit to Governor and Mrs. Briscoe for their vision and generosity in creating this amazing facility. Also, during the event, President Stary was presented with a commemorative proclamation by Chris Furlow, executive director of the Texas Bankers Association.
In 2020 the bank adopted a Mission, Vision and Core Values which are posted on our website. Today the Bank is now over $1.6 billion in assets and is preparing for the next 100 years.
Our Mission, Vision and Core Values