Message from the President
Twenty-Five Years and Counting
There is a framed Galveston Daily News Article on the wall in my office dated August 11, 1990 with a picture showing a much younger version of me sitting next to the legendary Mike Gaido. It was my second year as President of HomeTown Bank and the article focused on our mission to be a neighborhood bank with a neighborly approach. What a novel concept!
If you have done the math, you now know that is my 25th year as President. As I see that picture every day, I think about my journey that brought me to Galveston and the amazing people like Mr. Gaido who have shaped my career as a community banker. In fact, the life and times of the Rasmussen family in Galveston goes back to the early 1900’s. My grandfather, from whom I have the same initials, was part of the first Ford Dealership in the state of Texas on 23rd Street in Galveston. He wrote a letter to the Ford Motor Company in 1942 asking if he was one of the first dealerships in the country. Ford responded that the Galveston Dealership was one of the first ten in the country, with the dealership awarded on July 1, 1904. The letter stated that the oldest dealership in the country started on January 15, 1903.
When I was asked to interview at Bank of Galveston in mid-1988, I was told it would be in the offices of bank attorney and director Bill Rider. Ironically, Bill’s office was in the old Banker’s Savings and Loan building on the exact site of my grandfather’s original dealership. The Rasmussen family ghosts must have been in the building because I was offered the job.
Working with great people has been a luxury at our bank. In the early days, working the late Doug Lee was a lesson in community banking and the importance of customer service. He would sit at the secretary’s desk in the lobby during the busy part of the day and greet every person who came through the door. He would admit that he did not know all of their names but his warm greeting would make it sound like he had them over for dinner. Doug was President of our bank for 20 years and built a solid foundation.
Another blessing came my way with the staff I inherited. Five of them have now worked in excess of 40 years at our bank. All were highly skilled and became excellent mentors for those who followed them. In a world where so many people ask what you have done for them lately, our loyal staff has gone above and beyond my expectations.
Today, we are much younger than we were when I arrived. Our many retirees are enjoying the fruits of their labor, and our young staff knows that my expectations for them are very high. Today’s group is more computer literate with more years of secondary education, but they know we can’t teach experience. Only time will tell if we are fortunate enough to have one or more future 40-year employees.
In today’s world of electronic banking and lightning-fast social media, we continue to portray ourselves as your friendly neighborhood bank. Although the neighborhood has grown over the past twenty-five years, our “hometown” way of doing business will never change. Thank You, HomeTown Bank.