Texas Bankers Hall of Fame Names Five Honorees

The selection committee of the Texas Bankers Hall of Fame has announced its 2020 inductees: the late James B. Bexley, Lloyd R. Ferguson, William David Lacy, Victor Pierson and Allan James Rasmussen. These prestigious Texas bankers will be inducted at the Eighth Annual Texas Bankers Hall of Fame Gala on the campus of Sam Houston State University in Huntsville at a date to be determined. The Texas Bankers Hall of Fame, established by the Smith-Hutson Endowed Chair of Banking at Sam Houston State University, recognizes outstanding bankers who have made valuable contributions to the banking profession and pioneered the Texas banking industry.

Dr. James “Jim” B. Bexley began his banking career in 1964 at the Bank of the Southwest as a trust officer managing oil and gas properties. He rose through the ranks, ultimately being named manager of trust operations. His banking career included stops at River Oaks Bank and Trust as chief operations officer, Houston Southwest Bank as president and CEO, First Bank of Houston as president and CEO, Texas Commerce Bank–McAllen as chairman and CEO, Texas Commerce Bank–Corpus Christi as chairman and CEO, United Bank of Memphis as president and CEO, and Cardinal Bancorp and First American Bank of Pennsylvania.

After retiring from Cardinal Bancorp, Bexley joined Sam Houston State University (SHSU) as the Smith Hutson endowed chair of banking, where he served for 24 years. He developed the curriculum at SHSU for the first four-year accredited BBA degree in banking and financial institutions in the U.S. He also pioneered the curriculum for the university’s executive MBA degree in banking and financial institutions. During Bexley’s tenure with the university, he helped place more than 1,000 students in internships or career positions in banking.

While at SHSU, Bexley was awarded the Texas State University System Regents’ Award—the highest recognition given to a professor in the university system. Bexley is one of only two non-alumni in the school’s history to receive the Sam Houston State University Alumni Association Service Award.

In addition to serving at the university, Bexley was a consultant for community banks all over the U.S. and was a Virtual Fellow for the U.S. State Department in the Office of Threat Finance Countermeasures, Bureau of Economic and Business Affairs. He sat on the board of the Federal Reserve Bank of Dallas, serving as chair of the audit committee and a member of the executive committee. In 2016, Bexley was awarded the Texas Bankers Association’s first Lifetime Achievement Award.

Bexley authored five books, four on banking: Bank Management, The Bank Director, Directors Duties & Responsibilities in Financial Institutions and Selling Financial Products: A Practical Guide for Successful Bank Sales. In addition, he authored or co-authored 56 professional journal articles on banking and financial services.

Bexley passed away last October at the age of 85.

Dr. Lloyd R. Ferguson’s early years were steeped in education. He earned a bachelor’s degree from Howard Payne University, his master’s degree from Texas Christian University and doctoral degree from the University of Houston. He served in the Army Air Corps as a B-17 gunman in World War II and subsequently served for 27 years as the superintendent of schools for the Danbury, Pearland and Clear Creek ISDs.

Ferguson says that his most significant professional achievement, however, occurred in 1959 when he, along with a group of local business leaders, successfully organized and chartered Pearland State Bank. In 1964, Ferguson was elected chairman of the board, a position he continues to hold today. In 1982, he assumed the additional titles of president and CEO.

In 1994, under Ferguson’s leadership, a holding company was created and the bank’s shareholders purchased First National Bank of Alvin. Upon the completion of the purchase, Ferguson was elected chairman and CEO of First National Bank of Alvin and continues today in that position. Both Pearland State Bank and First National Bank of Alvin have consistently been recognized as exemplary banks by numerous publications.

Ferguson served on the board of TIB–The Independent BankersBank NA for several years and has been active in bank trade organizations.

As an active member of the Pearland community, he was a founding organizer of the Pearland Chamber of Commerce, serving as one of its first presidents. He has been a member and served in leadership positions in the Lions Club, Rotary Club, Order of Jesters, Shriners, First United Methodist Church of Pearland and numerous other organizations.

William David Lacy is a fourth-generation bank president in Waco. His great grandfather, also named William David Lacy, was president of Citizens National Bank of Waco from 1909 to 1917. His grandfather was president from 1919 to 1946, and his father, Walter G. Lacy Jr., was president from 1946 to 1971. Walter G. Lacy Jr. was inducted into the Texas Bankers Hall of Fame in 2013.

William David Lacy has been president of Community Bank & Trust in Waco since 1999. His 41-year banking career started full-time in 1979 after working part-time for seven summers at the bank. He worked as a teller and in numerous operational areas, including audit, IT and marketing prior to becoming a commercial lender. From 1982 to 1986, he worked for RepublicBank Corp. and continued working for NationsBank through 1990. Since 1990, he has worked for Community Bank & Trust in Waco.

Lacy has served twice on the Texas Bankers Association (TBA) board, including service on the TBA executive committee in 2015–16. He has served in various capacities for the American Bankers Association (ABA) as well, currently serving on the ABA core contract committee. While serving on banking trade association committees in recent years, Lacy has been passionate about the recruitment of new talent to the industry, including support for Sam Houston State University and Dr. Jim Bexley’s efforts in this regard.

Lacy has sat on 100-plus boards in and around Waco, serving as president of more than 50 of them, including the Greater Waco Chamber of Commerce, Waco Industrial Foundation, Texas Sports Hall of Fame and Cook Children’s Medical Center in Fort Worth.

Victor Pierson entered banking in Wichita Falls and moved to Galveston in 1985 to join Moody Bank. The Moody family pioneered Texas banking. Col. William L. Moody was granted the state’s second national banking charter in 1866 and Pierson now serves as only the fifth chair in the family’s 153-year banking history. He is also president and CEO of Moody Bank and Moody Bancshares Inc. Today, Moody Bank is among Texas’ largest privately owned banks. Total assets have more than doubled over the past decade, and its trust department is one of the largest domiciled in Texas.

A stalwart supporter of education, Pierson chairs the board of trustees for the Southwestern Graduate School of Banking Foundation at Southern Methodist University. He also served as dean of bankers for the Southwestern Graduate School of Banking. He serves on the executive committee advisory board for the Mays Business School commercial banking program at Texas A&M University and on the board of visitors for Texas A&M–Galveston. He also chairs the University of Texas Medical Branch president’s cabinet and taught accounting classes for 16 years at Galveston College.

Pierson has served as mayor of the City of Jamaica Beach, is a presidential appointee to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s Gulf of Mexico Commission and previously served as a gubernatorial appointee to the Coastal Coordination Council. He is past chair of the Texas Bankers Association, a board member for the Independent Bankers Association of Texas and vice chair of TIB–The Independent BankersBank NA.

Allan James “Jimmy” Rasmussen is in his 32nd year as president and CEO of Galveston-based HomeTown Bank. After earning his master’s degree in finance from Sam Houston State University, he launched his banking career in 1975 with American Bank in Huntsville, then moved back to his hometown of Texas City in 1978 to work for Texas First Bank. While there, he taught night classes at local community colleges and Texas A&M University in Galveston for more than 10 years.

Rasmussen was elected a Class A director with the Federal Reserve Bank of Dallas in 2012 for a three-year term and was re-elected in 2015 for an additional three-year term, where he served on the audit, governance and budget committees. He served as chair of the Independent Bankers Association of Texas in 2009–10. He is also a former director for the Independent Community Bankers of America.

Rasmussen’s community involvement includes serving as past president and 32-year member of the Rotary Club of Galveston Island. In 1991, he received the Rotary Club Vocational Award for “Service in the Work Place” and was awarded two Paul Harris Fellow recognitions from Rotary International. He also served as an elected trustee for 12 years with the Texas City ISD board of trustees and was inducted into the Texas City ISD Hall of Honor in 2013. Rasmussen also served as chair for the Texas City/La Marque Chamber of Commerce in 1987. He is a past chair and founding board member of the Galveston Economic Development Partnership and currently serves on its executive committee.

Published in Bankers Digest March 23, 2020