Texas Bankers Hall of Fame Names Five Honorees

On March 1, the selection committee of the Texas Bankers Hall of Fame announced the 2018 honorees. These five prestigious Texas bankers—David S. Barnard, H. Gary Blankenship, David R. Brooks, the late Walter G. Hall and Jill Sharp Vaughan—will be inducted on April 26 at the Sixth Annual Texas Bankers Hall of Fame Gala held in the Lowman Student Center Ballroom of Sam Houston State University in Huntsville. The Texas Bankers Hall of Fame, established by the Smith-Hutson Endowed Chair of Banking, recognizes outstanding bankers who have made valuable contributions to the banking profession and pioneered the Texas banking industry.

David S. Barnard was raised outside Gatesville, Texas. He received a BS in agricultural economics and an MBA in finance from Texas Tech University and he is also a graduate of the Southwestern Graduate School of Banking at SMU. Barnard began his banking career in 1968 with First National Bank in Dallas in its executive training program. In January 1971, he returned to his hometown to become assistant cashier for The National Bank of Gatesville. He rose quickly through the ranks and eventually became president of the bank in 1982 and CEO in 1985. He retired from day-to-day duties in 2013, but continues to serve as chairman. Under his leadership, the bank grew from one location to one of the largest independent banks in central Texas, with six branches across four counties and 157 employees. Assets have grown from $48 million in 1982 to $619 million today.

During his career, Barnard served as a two-term director for the Federal Reserve Bank of Dallas, as well as director of the Texas Bankers Association, director of the American Bankers Association Community Bankers Council and director of Kalyn Manufacturing Inc.

H. Gary Blankenship has been chairman and CEO of Greater Southwest Bancshares Inc. and Bank of the West since chartering the bank in 1986 with his wife, Cynthia. He was previously employed as president and CEO of two other banks and served for several years at other large Texas banking organizations as an officer and director. Prior to his public banking career, he served for eight years with the comptroller of the currency as a national bank examiner based out of Denver, Colorado.

In 1986, he made his mark in the banking industry by chartering Bank of the West, which has been recognized as a top performing bank and a leading SBA lender. He continues to be active in the bank, particularly in strategic planning and merger-and-acquisition activities.

Blankenship has served on the Texas Department of Banking Commissioner’s Council, as a trustee on the Independent Bankers Association of Texas Insurance Bond Trust and as a director of the Federal Home Loan Bank in Dallas. Currently, he serves as chairman of the board and a director of The Independent Bankers Bank (TIB), a $2.5-billion-asset bank that serves as a national community correspondent bankers bank. He is also vice chairman and director of Adfitech Inc., an Oklahoma-based company that provides mortgage services for FNMA, Freddie Mac and many banks in the U.S.

In recognition of his contributions to the association and the industry, Blankenship was a recipient of the prestigious Chairman’s Award from the Independent Bankers Association of Texas. In 2013, he and his wife were named recipients of the D.E. Box Citizens of the Year Award for Grapevine, Texas. He also has been named one of the top 500 “Most Powerful Business Leaders in Dallas–Fort Worth” in 2016 and 2017.

David R. Brooks, chairman of the board, president and CEO of Independent Bank Group, began his banking career with a large regional bank and has been active in community banking since he led the investor group that acquired a bank that later became Independent Bank in 1988.

Brooks fosters a corporate culture where employees are encouraged to volunteer in their communities. Through a community grants program, Independent Bank awards funding to local nonprofits serving low-to-moderate income individuals and families. Since its inception in 2015, the program has awarded over $750,000 to more than 45 organizations. Brooks’ efforts to assist in opening a federally qualified health clinic in McKinney, Texas, finally took form in 2017. The Family Health Center is now treating patients at its temporary location while plans to construct a permanent facility are underway.

Brooks currently serves as chairman of the board of Capital Southwest Corp. and previously was chairman of the board of trustees of Houston Baptist University, CFO at Baylor University, chairman of the board of managers at Noel-Levitz and president of the board of trustees for the McKinney Independent School District. He has also served on the McKinney City Council, McKinney Economic Development Corporation board and the McKinney Chamber of Commerce board.

Brooks is a 1980 graduate of Baylor University’s Hankamer School of Business and also has an MBA from Baylor.

Walter G. Hall was born in the Heights area of Houston, where he attended Central High School, which is now Sam Houston High School. He earned a BBA from Rice University in 1928 and went to work for The Texas Co., which later became Texaco. His banking career began in 1931 at Citizens State Bank in League City. The bank relocated to Dickinson, Texas, in 1935.

In 1943, Hall purchased Citizens State Bank from the Sealy Hutchins family. He went on to purchase Alvin State Bank in 1953 and opened League City State Bank in 1956. In 1963, he opened Webster State Bank and bought control of Bay City Bank & Trust in 1966. Hall continued to work until he passed away in 2000.

Jill Sharp Vaughan, executive vice president and Southwest regional credit executive for Zions Bancorporation, is responsible for credit risk management and special assets management of $18 billion in regional loans that support corporate real estate, energy, commercial and industrial, and specialty-lending lines of business. She is also the company’s senior loan approver for Texas, Arizona and Nevada.

Upon receiving her BBA in finance from Sam Houston State University, Vaughan began her banking career in 1983 at InterFirst Bank where she participated in the operations and lending management training program prior to becoming an executive.

From 1986 to 1996, she served as the senior lending officer and later president of ProBank in The Woodlands while overseeing credit risk management and business development as the bank expanded its footprint within Montgomery County. When the bank sold to BBVA in 1996, Vaughan joined Klein Bank and Trust as a relationship manager with oversight of the Montgomery County commercial lending market. In 2004, the bank merged with Amegy Bank of Texas where she served as executive vice president and group executive director for regional commercial lending prior to accepting her existing role in 2016.

Vaughan serves on the Smith-Hutson Endowed Chair of Banking Advisory Board and as chair of the Advisory Board of the College of Business Administration for Sam Houston State University. She has previously served as president of the Montgomery County Community Foundation, treasurer and board member of the North Houston Association, chair of Conroe-Lake Conroe Chamber of Commerce, chair of Montgomery County United Way and board vice chair of Lone Star College Foundation. Vaughan was a charter member and second president of the Rotary Club of Lake Conroe and is a Paul Harris Fellow.

In 2006, Vaughan was honored as an inaugural member of the SHSU College of Business Administration Hall of Honor and, in 2017, was selected as an honoree as an Outstanding Women in Banking and Finance.

Born in Madisonville, Vaughan is proud to be a third-generation Texas banker. Her father, R. Datus Sharp, and grandparents, Datus and Vera Sharp, were active in the independent Texas banking industry in Madisonville throughout their careers. She and her husband, David, have a son, Luke Datus Vaughan, who is currently attending graduate school at Texas A&M University, specializing in commercial banking.

Published in Bankers Digest March 12, 2018