Driving down Seventh Street from downtown all the way out Camp Bowie Boulevard might as well be called a tour of the banking boom in Fort Worth.
If you start at the 777 Building at Seventh and Main streets intersection, you’ll start with UMB Bank. Travel west from there through the intersection of University Drive, West Seventh Street and Camp Bowie Boulevard, and you’ll see Regions Bank, Origin Bank, Prosperity Bank and Chase Bank. Farther down Camp Bowie you’ll find PlainsCapital Bank, Encore Bank and Interfirst Bank.
“There are banks up and down Camp Bowie,’ said Lydia Rickard, executive director of the Camp Bowie District. “Some are new. Some have been here for a long, long time.”
But it is not just Camp Bowie. There are new banks downtown and in other areas of town. Fort Worth is hot in the banking world, say area bankers. In the past five to 10 years, PNC, Encore Bank, OneWest Bank, Third Coast Bank, just to name a few, have joined the Fort Worth banking landscape.
“We’ve been here a long time,” said Greg Morse, CEO of Worthington National Bank, which has been located in the historic Burk Burnett Building in downtown Fort Worth for nearly two decades. “I’ve never seen it like this.”
Courtney Lewis, executive vice president at Cadence Bank, has been a longtime area banker. She said Fort Worth’s growth is what is attracting new banks to the area.
“What you see is banks coming in from Oklahoma and Arkansas,” she said. “They don’t have high growth rates in those states, so they’re looking to Texas for that growth, and more specifically Tarrant County, because of the growth that’s happening here.”
Lewis said it was interesting that PNC Bank’s area leader chose Fort Worth and not Dallas or Frisco to locate.
“I think there’s becoming a greater recognition that Fort Worth is a place. It’s its own separate place,” she said.
In the past, she said, people said Dallas, but they meant Fort Worth or Plano or Arlington.
“I think people are starting to realize a little bit that Fort Worth is different,” she said.
PNC’s Regional President Dale Klose said he understands that Fort Worth has its own way of doing business.
“I know that you don’t do banking in Fort Worth from Dallas. You do banking in Fort Worth from Fort Worth,” he said.
Several leaders at these new banks offered their perspectives on what their banks bring to the market and why they choose Fort Worth.
“I liked their message, and I thought they brought something different to the market,” he said.
Encore set up shop on Camp Bowie Boulevard and focuses on concierge banking and commercial lending.
“They have a real different way of looking at the market,” said Jones.
Encore also has a philosophy of expansion that focuses on only hiring experienced and proven bankers in a market.
“If they don’t have the talent in hand to open in a market, they won’t do it,” said Jones. “They don’t want to get into a battle over talent.”
The bank eschews building out branches and instead allows its customers to use other bank’s ATM networks, free of charge.
Next door to Encore at 4255 Camp Bowie Blvd. is InterBank, which acquired the former Park Cities Bank at that location in 2013.
C.K. Lee, president and CEO at InterBank, said Fort Worth’s strong market was a big attraction for the bank, which has more than 40 locations in Texas and Oklahoma and has assets of more than $3.5 billion.
“When you look at the fundamentals here, they can’t be beat,” he said. “Even with the recent bump in interest rates, the market here is going to keep growing, so this has been great for us.”
Even though InterBank has a high-profile presence on Camp Bowie, when the Mutual of Omaha bank vacated space in a building across from Ridglea Country Club, Interbank opened a loan production office there.
“It’s just part of our commitment to the market and the growth potential we see here,” he said.
UMB Bank, which is based in Kansas City, Missouri, and has $40.1 billion in assets, entered the Fort Worth market in 2014 when it purchased locally owned Meridian Bank. But it made a big statement when it moved into the former Frost Bank space at 777 Main in 2017.
Eddie R. Broussard, a banker with more than 21 years of industry experience, was recently named president of the Fort Worth market for the bank.
“UMB likes to come in, get involved in the community, get involved in the business world and really just become a good citizen and support both the business and the civic side of the city, and that really was attractive to me,” he said.
Broussard said Fort Worth is appealing to banks with Midwest values, noting that UMB’s Kansas City roots parallel Fort Worth’s even down to both being called “Cowtown.”
“And then we’re in Denver, too, which also has that Midwest, Southwestern flavor,” he said.
Broussard said a lot of banks from smaller towns come to Fort Worth rather than Dallas because Fort Worth has more of a small-town feel.
“Fort Worth is just more attractive to those types of banks because we still do business here in a small-town way, so those banks will put a location here because they know how to do business that way,” he said.
While Worthington National Bank has not changed its name or leadership, it has been acquired by another bank. In February 2022, Oklahoma City-based BancFirst Corp. acquired Worthington for $77.7 million.
Morse said the acquisition has been seamless with BancFirst letting Worthington keep their name and run their own business.
“It’s been great,” he said. “They want us to keep doing what we’re doing. I haven’t lost a single employee.”
What he did gain was the ability to make larger loans for his customers.
“That’s what we really needed and that was what our customers were asking for,” Morse said.
Neither Worthington nor BancFirst made a big deal of the acquisition, Morse said.
“They issued a press release that was, I think, four sentences,” said Morse. “They keep a low profile.”
PNC Bank entered the North Texas market in 2017, then became a bigger force in the market when the parent company acquired the U.S. subsidiary of Spain’s BBVA bank for $11.6 billion in 2020. BBVA was the fifth-largest bank in Tarrant County at the time.
The Pittsburgh-based bank put an emphasis on Fort Worth when longstanding executive Klose relocated to the city to serve as PNC Southwest and Mountain territory executive.
“Fort Worth was very important for us, and we knew we wanted to become ingrained in the community,” said Klose.
The company, which has a focus on being a “Main Street” rather than a “Wall Street” bank, quickly took sponsorship of one of the city’s top festivals.
“They came in to me and told me about the opportunity and I said, ‘You mean there’s a big festival where we can put our name that says, PNC presents the Main Street Arts Festival?’ I said, ‘Sign us up. It fits right in with our focus,’ ” he said.
Bob Francis is business editor for the Fort Worth Report. Contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org. At the Fort Worth Report, news decisions are made independently of our board members and financial supporters. Read more about our editorial independence policy here.