Texas Leads Nation in Number of New Banks Opened in 1984

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NEW YORK -- There is no question about which state is the new bank capital of the nation.

Texas, with 141 new commercial banks and thrifts opened in 1984, accounted for almost one-third of all the new institutions opened in the United States last year, according to an American Banker survey of new financial institutions.

The 141 new institutions in Texas included 136 commercial banks. But while Texas was the new bank capital, California was the mecca of new savings institutions, with 20 new savings banks and savings and loans opened.

(A pull-out section, the American Banker Directory of New Financial Institutions, begins on page 11.)

In all of the United States, 438 new commercial banks, savings banks, and savings and loan associations opened in 1984, and the National Credit Union Administration chartered 97 new credit unions. The number of new state-chartered credit unions was not available.

Of the 438 new banks, 374 were commercial banks, about the same number that opened in 1983. The Federal Deposit Insurance Corp. reported that 405 new banks opened in 1983, but 32 of those were branches of foreign banks, which are listed as new banks. That leaves a total of 373 new banks opened in 1983.

Last year was the third straight year of vigorous bank organizing activity. There were 343 banks opened in 1982, after 220 were opened in 1981 and 205 in 1980.

New bank openings picked up between 1981 and 1982 after the Comptroller of the Currency changed its policies regarding new bank applications, according to John B. Sartain, a Dallas consultant who specializes in bank formation.

He said the Comptroller decided to "let the marketplace be the determining factor" in deciding whether a new bank could succeed. The Comptroller's office would not take it upon itself to decide how many banks an economic area could support.

New York banking consultant John Lyons called the new Comptroller's policy "a healthy change." Under the old policy, he said, new bank applicants "not only had to show a need for the new bank, but also that your bank would not hurt the existing banks" in the area.

Under the new policy, "if reputable people have applied for a new bank, and they know how to run a bank, then they can open a bank," he said.

Mr. Lyons also attributed the increase in new banks since 1981 to the large number of new institutions formed in unit banking states, where banks are not allowed to branch.

The new commercial banks in 1984 included 249 with national charters, and 125 with state charters.

Sixty-four savings institutions opened their doors last year, including 38 savings and loans. Only 14 of the new savings institutions had federal charters, while 50 had state charters.

The 438 new institutions averaged about $2.4 million each in initial capital. The average initial capitalization for thrifts was $3.2 million, higher than the $2.3 million average for commercial banks. The Federal Home Loan Bank Board requires new federally chartered thrifts to have at least $3 million in initial capital.

The 136 new commercial banks in Texas are about equal to the 1983 total of 134. Mr. Sartain said there were two reasons for the glut of new banks formed each year in Texas.

One is that Texas is a unit Banking state. The other is that "the economic growth in the state in the last two decades has been so strong," he said.

He said that new banks have a chance to make a profit by their second year of operation. "It takes one full year to become profitable on a month-by-month basis," he said. During the second year, the bank can recover its initial losses and become as profitable as established banks.

"The right person in the right area can make it work," said Mr. …