Independent Bankers Association of Texas Honors Two with the 2018 Excellence in Leadership Award

The Independent Bankers Association of Texas (IBAT), based in Austin, honored two Texas community bankers with its prestigious Excellence in Leadership Award during the organization’s 33rd Annual IBAT Leadership Conference in San Antonio on June 15. While the award is generally given to one recipient each year, there were two standout leaders worthy of the honor this year—Rogers Pope Jr. of Texas Bank and Trust in Longview and Darla Rooke of Junction National Bank in Junction.

To be considered for the Excellence in Leadership Award, one must be a member of the IBAT Leadership Division. This person demonstrates a long history of personal commitment to, and financial support of, the nearly 700-member division, which was founded in 1985 and is dedicated to the development of tomorrow’s leaders in community banking. Recipients of the award must selflessly donate their time to promote, support and serve independent bankers in Texas.

Fourth-generation banker Rogers Pope Jr., chief executive officer and vice chairman of Texas Bank and Trust, has served as chairman of the IBAT board and IBAT Services board, and most recently led the search committee to select IBAT’s next president and CEO. Outside of IBAT, he has served as chairman of TIB–The Independent BankersBank and the Southwestern Graduate School of Banking Foundation at Southern Methodist University; on the federal delegate board for the Independent Community Bankers of America; and on the bankers advisory board for the Conference of State Bank Supervisors, among numerous other industry leadership positions.

Active in his community as well, Pope most recently held leadership positions with the Bruce McMillan Jr. Foundation, Good Shepherd Medical Center Foundation board, Longview 20/20 Forum board and Buckner International board.

Darla Rooke currently serves as president, CEO and a board member at Junction National Bank. Also a former chair of both the IBAT and IBAT Services boards, her banking career spans 30-plus years. Rooke is only the fourth president in her bank’s history. She has served on the Federal Reserve’s San Antonio Branch Regional Bank Council and is a past president of the Hill Country Bankers Association.

Rooke is dedicated to bettering her community and has positively impacted the lives of many in her area through a nonprofit she organized with her husband 20 years ago. Christmas in Action–Junction rehabilitates homes for elderly, handicapped and low-income residents of Kimble County. Additionally, she has served on the Junction Texas Economic Development Corporation Loan committee.

“Both Rogers and Darla have served IBAT in more ways than I can count, not to mention the many other industry leadership positions they’ve held and their extensive community involvement,” says Chris Williston, IBAT president and chief executive officer. “These highly respected individuals lead by example, ask others to do only what they are willing to do themselves, inspire their peers daily and bring out the best in others. Congratulations to two of the most deserving leaders I know.”

Formed in 1974, the Independent Bankers Association of Texas is the largest state community banking organization in the nation with membership comprised of more than 2,000 banks and branches in 700 Texas communities.

Published in Bankers Digest July 9, 2018