Texas: Mauldin to Lead Texas Tech Excellence in Banking Program; De la Cruz Tapped as CEO of First Financial Bank’s Hereford Region

Abilene-based First Financial Bank NA announced that Robert de la Cruz has been promoted to chairman, president and CEO of the bank’s Hereford region. This comes upon the announcement that Mike Mauldin, who currently holds those positions, has been named the inaugural director of the Excellence in Banking Program at the Rawls College of Business at Texas Tech University, effective November 1.

“I can’t think of anyone better to lead the Excellence in Banking Program…than Mike Mauldin, who has been in the industry more than 42 years, served as president of three banks and as chairman, president and CEO of our Hereford region for the past 17 years,” says Scott Dueser, chairman, president and CEO of First Financial Bankshares Inc.

Mauldin joined First Financial Bank in 2002. He holds a BBA degree from West Texas State University and has held numerous leadership positions with both the American Bankers Association (ABA) and Texas Bankers Association (TBA), including serving as TBA chair 2012–13. He is the recipient of the Texas Bankers Association 2010 Chairman’s Award, Deaf Smith County 2010 Citizen of the Year and West Texas State A&M University 2016 Distinguished Alumni Award.

“Mike brings the right combination of experience, a broad banking network and an enthusiasm for working with our banking students to build a strong reputation for our program,” says Margaret L. Williams, dean of the Rawls College of Business.

De la Cruz holds a BBA degree in finance from Hardin-Simmons University, is a graduate of the Southwestern Graduate School of Banking at Southern Methodist University, Texas Bankers Association management development program and FFIN University. He has more than 16 years of banking experience, beginning his career at First Financial Bank in the Abilene contact center. De la Cruz moved to Hereford as a commercial lender in 2006 and was named executive vice president for the Hereford region in 2018. He serves on the TBA bank leadership council, as well as the agricultural and rural affairs committee. His civic involvement includes the Lions Club, Hereford ISD School Board and the Career Technology and Education Advisory Board for Hereford High School.

Established in 1890, First Financial Bank National Association operates 73 locations in Texas.

Published in Bankers Digest October 14, 2019