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New banks in Victoria create more options for customers

By Jessica Rodrigo
March 15, 2014 at 12:01 a.m.
Updated March 15, 2014 at 10:16 p.m.

First State Bank of Louise Senior Vice President Clay Kolle looks over a client's account information at its branch location on John Stockbauer Drive. Three new banks have opened for business in the last six months, giving people more options in lending needs.

Consumers enjoy selection.

With new banks moving into Victoria, it might be time to shop around.

"Think of ice cream," Terry Cullen, president of First National Bank in Port Lavaca, said. "That's why there are different flavors and different brands - people like different things."

In the past six months, three banks have opened temporary locations in Victoria: First National Bank in Port Lavaca, First Community Bank of Texas and First State Bank of Louise.

The opportunity may have presented itself when Prosperity acquired First Victoria in July 2013.

"It was the event that encouraged us to make the commitment," Cullen said.

Before the move, he participated in several discussions with the bank's officers regarding the potential of the Victoria financial market, he said. The bank opened Feb. 19 at the corner of Mockingbird Lane and Main Street.

While the bank offers consumers and businesses its full array of services, plans are in the works to build a new, permanent, estimated 5,000-square-foot location with drive-thru lanes, an ATM and a night deposit box.

It's a move that's common practice for banks while entering a new market, Cullen said. Depending on regulations, some banks can open right away with all their services while some will open partially.

In October, the First State Bank opened a location on John Stockbauer Drive as a loan production office.

"We felt there was a need and vacancy in the community bank market," Clay Kolle, senior vice president and branch manager in Victoria, said.

The bank has plans to open a permanent location in the city later down the road, but right now, the bank is working on bringing all its services to the table for its customers.

More services make each bank more competitive, Kolle said. Individuals and business owners can now shop around and search for terms on a loan that fit them best and see what kind of rates are available, he said.

"There weren't many banking institutions in the Victoria market," Kolle said, referencing information from the Federal Deposit Insurance Corp. website. "A similar-type market might see about 30 institutions in our market."

As of June 30, 2013, there were 22 offices listed in Victoria with 10 banking institutions, according to data collected by the FDIC.

First Community Bank, which is based in Corpus Christi, is the newest bank to enter the Victoria market. The bank opened its doors March 3 on the ninth floor of the One O'Connor Plaza building.

Small business and family lending are the bread and butter of First Community Bank in the Corpus Christi market, said Wes Hoskins, president/CEO.

"It was a natural extension for us to come into the Victoria market," he said.

The company considered moving into Refugio but chose Victoria because of its growing economy, he said. Factors, including the Eagle Ford Shale, and its expected expansion were considered when finalizing plans.

New banks in the Victoria market open the door to more financial options for individuals and businesses, Hoskins said.

"As a banker, we have to provide better services and competitive rates and products," he said. "It's better for the consumer."

Cullen is hopeful the growing number of options make will improve the community as well.

"Competition is a good thing. It should make people better - the more competition, the better people have to perform to survive and thrive," he said.



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