Magazine article American Banker

Sale of Team Bancshares Vindicates Texas Veteran

Magazine article American Banker

Sale of Team Bancshares Vindicates Texas Veteran

Article excerpt

While forming a new banking company amid the ruin that was Texas in 1988, Ronald G. Steinhart was taken aback when a potential investor cleared his throat and asked: "What do I tell my boss when he says all Texas bankers are buffoons?"

But in light of what happened this week, that investor was dismissing a genius: Mr. Steinhart on Monday sold his Team Bancshares Inc. to Banc One Corp. for an estimated $782 million - triple the company's equity at its formation two years ago.

Not only did Mr. Steinhart engineer a more than $500 million, or 200% profit, in the space of two years for investors in his privately held banking company, but the executive himself apparently stands to earn more than $8 million on the deal.

The Road Back from Failure

The home run caps a remarkable comeback for Mr. Steinhart, 51, who four years ago was neck-deep in a cataclysmic bank collapse.

As president of Dallas-based InterFirst Corp., Mr. Steinhart was humbled by successive energy and realty lending debacles that crippled the $22 billion-asset banking company.

He helped steer InterFirst into a merger with rival RepublicBank Corp., then resigned shortly after successor First RepublicBank Corp. was formed. The bank quickly failed, requiring a federal rescue costing more than $4 billion. It was bought by NCNB Corp., now NationsBank Corp., in 1988.

Mr. Steinhart believes the key to his reemergence was his willingness to stay until the merger was completed. "I wanted a reputation as someone who is not a quitter," said Mr. Steinhart.

From there, it was mater of capitalizing on two decades' worth of experience in buying and selling Texas banks.

Spying opportunities to buy failed units whose portfolios had been cleansed by the government, Mr. Steinhart mustered the support of some powerful backers, including Goldman, Sachs Inc. …

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