BY TONY VINDELL
Within a week after San Antonio-based Frost Bank announced it’s closing its Raymondville branch, another financial institution said it will open a branch in Raymondville.
This time, however, it’s a bank with roots in the Rio Grande Valley.
First Community Bank, headquartered in San Benito, is expanding into the local market sooner than anticipated.
“Raymondville has been part of our master plan for the last two years,” said C. Michael Scott, president and chief executive officer with FCB, while showing a map of the bank expansion plans. “Frost Bank’s announcement is making us move as quickly as we can now.”
The longtime Willacy County resident said he is extremely glad to bring a branch here.
“Agriculture is a very important part of our business even though other banks do not see it this way,” he said. “We are looking forward to serving the needs of all the residents of Willacy County.”
He said they are getting ready to open a temporary office in the Mark Brown complex on East Hidalgo Avenue where they will offer services such as loans and deposits.
Later on, Scott said they will move into a permanent building even though no decision has been made about that.
He said they have to file a branch application with federal regulators – a process that takes 45 days.
The building Frost Bank owns at 729 E. Hidalgo Ave. will be vacant after Nov. 30, and there is a possibility FCB or other financial company will consider that site.
FCB has two banks in San Benito, two in Harlingen, one in Los Fresnos and it’s opening a full service bank in Brownsville where it has been running a branch inside Valley Baptist Medical Center.
That branch will be closed after the new one opens on Morrison Road.
Scott said FCB is a bank with more than $220 million in assets.
The bank opened its doors in October 1979 as First National Bank of San of Benito with six employees.
Twenty five years later in 2004, FCB had more than 50 employees and branches in Harlingen and in Los Fresnos.
Now, the bank will open its seventh branch in Raymondville, filling the vacuum Frost Bank will leave on November 30.
Scott said FCB is a locally owned bank that prides itself on servicing the needs of Valley residents.
The bank has entered into a partnership with Stripes where bank customers have access to any of the hundreds of the convenience stores ATM machines free of charge.
Scott emphasizes that they are a locally owned bank that makes decisions locally.
“Our motto is other banks have branches, First Community Bank has roots,” he said. “Our services are clearly what sets us apart from the rest.”