Texas: South Texas Banking Icon Glen Roney of Texas Regional Bancshares Passes Away

Glendon (Glen) Edward Roney, whom many consider to be the architect of the South Texas banking industry and a pillar of the Rio Grande Valley community, died of pneumonia at the age of 88 on November 10. He leaves behind a legacy that cemented his mark on the region through his work and philanthropy.

Roney was born in 1930 in St. Elmo. In 1946, Roney’s family moved to San Benito, where he started his banking career the following year at the San Benito Bank and Trust Co. as a file clerk. After a leave of absence from the bank in 1951 to serve in the U.S. Air Force during the Korean War and attend Chillicothe Business College in Missouri, he returned to San Benito in 1955 to continue a banking career that would span more than 60 years. Roney worked in all areas of operations and lending and was promoted to vice president. He also served on the bank’s board.

In 1961, he accepted a position with McAllen State Bank as chief operations and lending officer. Later he was elected executive vice president and chief executive officer, then promoted to president. He worked closely with Harlingen business leaders to open Harlingen State Bank in 1974.

In 1979, McAllen’s skyline changed when Roney moved McAllen State Bank into a new 17-story building. Today, it remains a Valley landmark and the centerpiece of McAllen’s downtown business district. In the early 1980s, First City Bancorporation of Texas acquired McAllen State Bank and elected Roney as board chairman and CEO.

In 1981, Roney and a group of area business leaders opened Texas State Bank in McAllen. Soon, Harlingen State Bank and Texas State Bank grew into statewide banking organizations, led by Roney, with his wife, Rita K., by his side. The banks merged in 1983 under a holding company, Texas Regional Bancshares Inc.

A highlight of Roney’s banking career occurred in 1994 when he took Texas Regional Bancshares public, selling its stock on the Nasdaq exchange. He and Rita K. rang the bell that opened the stock exchange that morning in Times Square, New York City.

From 1995 to 1998, additional banks were acquired with more locations in Rio Grande City, Roma, Mission, Hidalgo, Brownsville, Raymondville and Harlingen. In 1998, Roney opened the 11-story Texas State Bank tower.

Texas Regional Bancshares continued to expand in the new millennium, with new locations in Houston, Eagle Pass and Sugar Land. The holding company also acquired Corpus Christi Bancshares, Southeast Texas Bancshares, Port Arthur Abstract and Title, McAllen-based Valley Mortgage Co. and Dallas-based Mercantile Bank & Trust. New branches opened in Edinburg, San Juan, Silsbee, Lumberton, Weslaco, The Woodlands and Houston.

By 2006, when Madrid, Spain-based Banco Bilbao Vizcaya Argentaria SA (BBVA) purchased Texas Regional Bancshares Inc., Roney’s dream had grown into a $7-billion banking organization with 73 locations throughout Texas. The company was sold to BBVA for $2.165 billion in cash, reported to be the largest cash transaction ever for a bank in Texas.

BBVA went on to buy Compass Bancshares Inc. and all of the Texas State Bank branches merged into BBVA Compass Bancshares Inc. Roney served as a director for BBVA Compass for 10 years.

While he worked tirelessly within the banking industry, Roney was also a strong supporter of charitable and political organizations. His philanthropic efforts, public service, mentorship and service on civic and statewide boards are too numerous to mention here, but can be read by clicking here.

Published in Bankers Digest November 26, 2018