Serving the underserved
Our story begins shortly after World War II, when a group of prominent San Antonio businessmen applied for a charter to start a neighborhood bank in the underserved Jefferson district of San Antonio. The men had no trouble qualifying financially, but the Texas Banking Department pointed out they were deficient in banking experience. The department recommended a gentleman named A.J. “Jack” Lewis to fill that gap. Many of the investors already knew Jack and held him in high regard. They offered him the opportunity to buy 10% of the bank stock and take the helm of the operation.
Experienced leadership with a vision
Jack had recently been discharged from the Army as a colonel. Before the war, he worked during the day at the Texas Department of Banking and attended classes at The University of Texas Law School at night. After graduation, he became a full time bank examiner. This was during the Great Depression, so it goes without saying that Jack learned invaluable lessons about the difference between sound banking practices and what causes a bank to fail.
With Jack in place as Chairman and President, the charter was approved. Jefferson Bank opened its doors on August 12, 1946. After its first day of operation, with the approval of the board, Jack hired Tom Murrah, a former bank examiner for the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation, as bank president while Jack retained the position of Chairman of the Board.