Magazine article American Banker

On Main Street: Ugly Duckling Turned Swan

Magazine article American Banker

On Main Street: Ugly Duckling Turned Swan

Article excerpt

First National Bank of Bastrop in Texas has turned an eyesore into a banking headquarters the town can be proud of.

"No one would ever guess it was an H.E.B.," said Reid Sharp, the bank's president and chief executive, referring to the building's former occupant, the Texas grocery chain H.E. Butt Grocery Co.

Indeed, the front - a windowless, monochromatic beige facade - has been replaced by a redbrick facing with windows, and there's even a second-story balcony.

Inside the 60,000-square-foot building, the walls of the lobby are now covered with murals depicting the town's history.

The $300 million-asset First National had already outgrown one downtown Bastrop building and was bursting at the seams in another when its executives decided it was time to search for a new headquarters. The chief criterion was that the space had to be big enough to house most of the bank's departments and be convenient for customers.

The bank's drive-through branch across the street from the vacant H.E.B. building on Highway 71 was doing about 70% of its drive-through business - a definite sign that it was in a convenient location. So First National thought about tearing down the drive-through and rebuilding a drive-through and headquarters in the same spot. …

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