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Colonial Saving leader DuBose dies at 93
James S. “Jimmy” DuBose, 93, longtime leader of Colonial Savings and several other financial firms, died Dec. 1 after a year-long battle with cancer.
DuBose was chairman emeritus of Colonial Savings, Colonial National Mortgage, Colonial Life Insurance Company of Texas, Colonial Mortgage Insurance, and DuBose & Associates Insurance Agency. He continued to play an active role in these businesses until his death.
DuBose was born July 25, 1924, in Georgetown to Edwin A. DuBose Jr. and Frances Barcus DuBose and moved to Fort Worth when he was 12. An earnest worker and early entrepreneur, he delivered newspapers by bicycle for the Fort Worth Star-Telegram in the West Fort Worth neighborhood that would later become his longtime home.
According to a profile of DuBose that was published when he was named the 1998 Business Executive of the Year at Texas Wesleyan University’s annual Business Hall of Fame dinner, he became interested in business while delivering the paper.
“They sell and you collect. It gave me a great background in business,” DuBose said.
While still a teen, he also went into the business of making canvas-back lawn chairs in an uncle’s woodshop. After graduation from Arlington Heights High School in 1941, he served in Texas A&M University Corps of Cadets until the United States entered World War II. During the war he was a B-17 and B-29 bomber pilot in the Army Air Corps, then attended Texas Christian University and graduated from the University of Texas at Austin with a business degree in 1949. Before leaving college, DuBose attended a year of law school but decided it wasn’t for him.
“I saw the opportunities in business,” he said. “After the war there was a great housing boom, but I’m kind of sorry I didn’t become a lawyer. They get to do about everything.”
DuBose was in the sawmill business in East Texas before joining Reeves & Fitzgerald Insurance Agency.
He made his name as a dynamic and visionary leader in the mortgage business when he founded Fort Worth Mortgage Corp. (FWMC) in 1952 to provide residential home loans to the growing post-World War II communities of North Central Texas. The one-man shop grew steadily over the next 20 years.
In 1971, DuBose acquired Colonial Savings & Loan of Lewisville, which allowed him to expand his insurance and mortgage business. Colonial Savings/FWMC was among the first home lenders in the nation to offer low down-payment loans.
Instead of the traditional 20 percent, new homebuyers could pledge as little as 5 percent down. It opened the housing market to many for whom it had been financially out of reach.
No longer did deposits limit how much banks and thrifts could lend because they could sell the loans to government-insured mortgage programs. In 1972, Colonial Savings had $5.5 million in deposits but had close to $70 million in conventional home loans. The arrangement cushioned banks and thrifts from interest rates and default risks while giving them a profit from servicing fees.
He also took advantage of deregulation again in the early 1980s when savings and loans were allowed to offer checking accounts to customers.
During the savings and loan financial crisis of the 1980s that saw hundreds of S&Ls fail, Colonial Savings remained solid under DuBose’s leadership by focusing on single-family home loans, personal banking and insurance instead of speculative commercial opportunities. Colonial emerged from the turbulent period stronger than ever.
In 1982, DuBose started CU Members Mortgage, a division dedicated to providing credit unions nationwide with mortgage origination and servicing. Today, the Colonial companies make up a national financial corporation with more than 750 employees.
DuBose was a member of the Texas Mortgage Bankers Association and Mortgage Bankers Association of America and served on the Texas Wesleyan University board of trustees. He received numerous awards and accolades, including induction into the Fort Worth Business Hall of Fame in 1998, an honorary doctoral degree from Texas Wesleyan in 2012, Texas Wesleyan’s Honorary Alumni Award in 2014, and the Texas Mortgage Bankers Association’s Larry E. Temple Distinguished Service Award in 2013.
In 2017, the Fort Worth Independent School District trustees unanimously voted to name the auditorium of Stripling Middle School, the school he attended as a boy, the Jimmy DuBose Auditorium in recognition of the countless ways he supported the teachers and students at the school.
Only illness kept DuBose from playing golf and tennis through his 92nd year. He loved Alpine skiing, summers in Aspen, Colorado, and fly fishing in Lake City, Colorado. Until her death in 2008, he and his wife, Joy, delighted in the growth and achievements of their children, grandchildren and extended family. In 2010, he remarried and moved with his wife, Caroll, to her Coyote Creek Ranch in Aledo, where she gave him piano lessons, and they lived surrounded by nature, livestock and the Texas countryside.
In addition to his wife, Caroll Holliday DuBose, he is survived by his son, Jim DuBose, the current chairman of Colonial, grandchildren and great-grandchildren.
This report contains material from Fort Worth Business Press archives and Texas Wesleyan University.
Founded in 1952, Colonial is a national, multi-service financial institution headquartered in Fort Worth and one of the largest servicers of mortgage loans in the United States, with a servicing portfolio of $26 billion. It is the parent company of Colonial National Mortgage, a leading retail mortgage lender; CU Members Mortgage, which provides mortgage services to more than 300 credit unions nationwide; and Colonial Savings, a network of eight consumer/commercial banks located throughout North Central Texas. It is also affiliated with Colonial Life Insurance Company of Texas, DuBose & Associates Insurance, and Colonial Lloyds. The privately held company provides personal and business financial products and originates about $2 billion annually in FHA, VA, jumbo, conventional, condo and innovative single close construction loans.