Charlie Powell, a well-known and respected banker in Tarrant County, has spent the last 15 years as local leader for Bank of Texas. But as of March 2, Powell’s business cards changed, now reading a new, less familiar name: Ciera Bank.
“At this stage of my life and career, Ciera Bank is providing an opportunity for me to help an independent family-owned organization build a major presence in the Fort Worth and North Texas market,” he said. “This new position energizes me with the return to hands-on banking.”
Ciera Bank, under its previous moniker First Graham Bancorp Inc., emerged in Fort Worth in 2013, when it merged its three banks, First National Bank in Graham and First Security Bank in Flower Mound, into one entity called Ciera Bank. At the same time it converted from a federal to a state-chartered institution.
First Graham first entered the Fort Worth market when it acquired Surety Bank in 2008, then changing its name to West Side Bank & Trust Co. By whatever name, the bank has had a prominent location, at the top of the hill on Summit Avenue, at the intersection with Interstate-30 for many years. Ciera Bank is a longtime family-owned community bank formed in 1889. Ciera Bank has eight offices across North Texas and, as of the end of 2014, had total assets of $493.9 million.
The bank doesn’t plan to remain unfamiliar in this area for long. Fort Worth will be a key area for the bank that focused on commercial real estate, commercial loans, oil and gas and ranching, according to Powell and Ciera Bank officials.
“They’re really thinking forward,” said Powell. “They see Fort Worth as being the true focal point for their organization. We will definitely focus on growing our profile in the Fort Worth area. With Ciera Bank’s $500 million asset base, we are capable of providing services to any company or person seeking financial resources.”
Powell said other additions will be made to the Fort Worth Ciera team shortly.
“We’ll be building a strong team here,” he said.
Though they have yet to detail their plans, Cierea Bank officials said they plan to build their Fort Worth presence with Powell as a key part of their strategy.
“We are extremely pleased to attract such an experienced banker with the passion for customers and community service that Charlie has,” said Chuck Rosenbrough, chairman of Ciera. “He brings over 30 years of local banking experience and leadership to our organization.”
Aside from his 30 years in banking, Powell and his family have been known for their community service.
Serving on a variety of different boards, Powell currently serves as vice chairman of the John Peter Smith Hospital and Healthcare Network. In the past, he and his wife, Beverly Volkman Powell, have co-chaired the American Heart Association Heart Ball. Powell and his son, James, led the 2014 United Way of Tarrant County campaign, the first father-son duo to do so.
Powell had been president and chief operating officer of the Fort Worth Region of Bank of Texas for 15 years. He said there was no rancor involved in leaving that position, just an opportunity he couldn’t pass up.
“I’ve very proud of my years at Bank of Texas,” he said. “It was a hard decision.”