Background Music by Laura Lewis
Our founder, Ray M. Bain, held some very strong beliefs – beliefs we still hold true today. The principles of GENEROSITY, LOYALTY, INTEGRITY and COMMUNITY are the foundation of this organization. These four Founding Principles guide us, help us to make the right decisions and shape who we are as a company. Our success is due to the hard work and loyalty of our customers, and our STARS who are truly committed to the communities we serve.
We are different – by design. Our culture is driven by the motivation to deliver the “Ultimate Customer Experience” to each of our customers, vendors and fellow STARS. We do so by treating everyone with respect and by always doing the right thing. That’s why we are The Spirit of West Texas.
Roots run deep in West Texas. In fact, all our roots are right here. You might say that we were born and raised in this land that’s like no other. The beautiful sunrises, the gorgeous sunsets and the vast blue sky help define our region and make us proud to call West Texas our home. Since beginning in 1907 as the First State Bank of Dimmitt to the First United Bank today, our business has always been focused on West Texas communities, the good people who live and work here and their distinct financial needs.
First United Bank has a long history, one that we’re very proud of. Click the arrows to scroll along the time line below and see some of the highlights of our story.
The First State Bank of Dimmitt was chartered on March 7, 1907 in Dimmitt, TX. The original Board of Directors was comprised of Charles E. McLean, C.F. Kerr, C.H. Clifton and Beecher Rowan, with McLean serving as Chairman. J.S. Chesnutt of First National Bank of Amarillo joined the board soon thereafter in July 1907. C.E. McLean was elected President of the Bank with a salary of $25 per month while B. Rowan served as Cashier with a salary of $50 per month.
The Bank originally started with only $12,000 in capital and was one of the few banks in the southwest that survived the Great Depression (1929-1933) without new capital or reorganization. This was quite an accomplishment as after the stock market crash in 1929, it is estimated that 4,000 banks failed during 1933 alone. In all, approximately 9,000 banks failed during the decade of the 1930s.
C.E. McLean served as President of the Bank until his death in 1919. His wife, Rosa McLean, was elected inactive President and Cashier and continued in that capacity until 1939. Bruce McLean (son of C.E. and Rosa McLean) joined the Bank in March 1911 and succeeded his mother as President until his death in March 1940. Rubye McLean, wife of Bruce McLean, succeeded him as President and served until her death in March 1953. Bob McLean, son of Bruce and Rubye McLean, succeeded his mother as President and served in that capacity until his death in October 1981. Bob was succeeded as President by his son, Robert McLean, who served until the Bank was sold in 1982.
The first Bank building was located at the corner of S. Broadway and Jones Street in a building which is no longer standing. The year 1928 marked the move to a new two-story brick building on the corner of N. Broadway and Bedford.
In 1957, the Bank built a new building on the corner of Bedford and 3rd Street. This building was extensively remodeled three times over the next 20 years.
In 1977, under the helm of Bob McLean, the Bank built yet another new building at 201 N. Broadway. The 20,000 SF facility still houses First United Bank today. The facility has been remodeled several times including an extensive renovation in 2005.
On April 1, 1982, after operating the Bank for 75 years, the McLean family sold The First State Bank of Dimmitt to B.E. Lloyd of Muleshoe, TX. Mr. Lloyd was responsible for the installation and conversion of the Bank onto its first computer which was an IBM System 36. He also oversaw the installation of one of the first Automatic Teller Machines (ATM) in the U.S. in early 1985.
On August 1, 1985, Ray M. Bain moved from Deming, NM to join the Bank and would become President of The First State Bank of Dimmitt. When Mr. Bain joined the Bank in August, the Bank had a YTD operating loss of approximately $100k; however, through his leadership and management, the Bank reported a small profit by the end of 1985.
In February 1987, Ray M. Bain and a small group of investors purchased the Bank from Mr. B.E. Lloyd. The new directors and owners were (as pictured, L to R): George Sides, Monty Boozer, James A. Clark, Robert Jones, Ray M. Bain, Jimmy Ross, Stanley Schaeffer, Shirley L. Garrison, Ray Joe Riley and Joe Josselet. Total assets of the Bank were approximately $50 million.
On January 26, 1989, the Bank expanded into Lamb County by acquiring Citizen’s State Bank of Earth from the FDIC in a failed bank transaction.
The purchase of the Earth Banking Center generated significant earnings between 1989-1991, and thus the new owners were able to reduce the Holding Company’s debt fairly rapidly. The Bank’s strong capital position and improved earnings under the leadership of Ray M. Bain allowed the Bank to become an aggressive acquirer of banks during the next decade and as they say …the rest is history.
Ray M. Bain was not known as a big gambler; however, his investor group had borrowed a significant amount of money to purchase the Bank in 1987 (in an economic downturn), and he was determined to quickly return the Bank to profitability and retire debt. Mark Bain recounts a story in early 1989 when he and Ray met a borrower in a hotel room in Lubbock, TX to negotiate a settlement of his debts with the failed Citizen’s State Bank in Earth, TX . The two parties negotiated to within $10,000 when they hit an impasse. They decided to flip a coin for it! Mr. Bain won the flip and as they were walking out of the hotel and Mark was giving Ray an earful about having just wagered $10,000 on a coin toss, Ray explained to Mark that the Bank had purchased the loan for a discount and that all monies collected over that purchase price was therefore profit to the Bank. It was Mr. Bain’s style. He was a savvy businessman who knew when and how to take risks. He was both smart and lucky.
On January 24, 1991, the Bank expanded into Gaines County with the acquisition of The First National Bank of Seagraves. Total assets of the company approached $90 million.
On October 1, 1994, the Bank’s name was changed from The First State Bank of Dimmitt to First United Bank. The name better reflected the uniting of all banking locations and built on the Bank’s growth and commitment to West Texas.
On December 1, 1994, First United Bank expanded into Lubbock County with the acquisition of Shadow Hills National Bank in Lubbock, TX. This location was renamed the Lubbock-Northwest Banking Center. Total assets of the Bank were approximately $160 million.
On April 1, 1996, the Bank established its first de novo Banking Center and its second Lubbock location by expanding into south Lubbock with the formation of the Lubbock-Southwest Banking Center. The original Banking Center was housed in a pier and beam structure that had been relocated from 4th & Slide Road and had served as the original banking facility for Whisperwood National Bank. In September 1997, the Bank broke ground on the new facility located one block south of the temporary facility.
In May 1996, directors Ray M. Bain, Stanley Schaeffer, Shirley L. Garrison and Joe Josselet from the original 1987 investment group along with new investors V.H. Harman, Jr. of Tulia, TX, Johnny Trotter of Hereford, TX, R. Mark Bain of Lubbock, TX, Michael L. Bain and David Schaeffer of Dimmitt, TX joined together to purchase the interests of all other shareholders.
On June 15, 1998, the Bank moved into its new Lubbock-Southwest Banking Center located at 66th & Frankford Ave. Although this facility has been updated extensively, it was considered one of the finest branch locations in Lubbock at the time of its completion.
On July 15, 2000, the Bank further expanded its presence in Lamb County with the acquisition of The First National Bank of Sudan and its branch in Littlefield, TX.
On December 4, 2000, the Bank expanded its presence in Gaines County with the establishment of a de novo Banking Center in Seminole, TX. The original banking facility was a modular building placed on the site of the permanent Seminole Banking Center. Total assets exceeded $240 million at year end 2000.
In July 2003, construction of the new Seminole Banking Center was completed.
On February 1, 2004, the Bank expanded its footprint into the northern Panhandle by establishing a de novo Banking Center in downtown Amarillo in the Eagle Centre Tower. The Bank was temporarily housed on the seventh floor of Eagle Centre before completing renovations and becoming the anchor tenant on the ground floor. The Bank was named the Amarillo-Center City Banking Center.
This original 10-story building was built in 1949 and served as the new headquarters for the First National Bank of Amarillo.
The expansion into Amarillo came as a result of a life-long friendship between R. Mark Bain and R. Scott Bentley. The two had grown up and were classmates in Perryton, TX. Bentley had gone into banking in Amarillo and had risen up through the ranks of several Amarillo banks. Bentley assembled the original banking team of Jim Rush, Rodney Ruthart and Steve Brunson and the decision to expand the Bank northward was negotiated around the dining table at Bentley’s home in Amarillo.
On May 24, 2004, the Bank established its second Amarillo location with the creation of a de novo Banking Center in southwest Amarillo. The original Amarillo-Colonies Banking Center was housed in a modular building at 45th & Soncy Road directly across the street from the future site of the permanent facility. Total assets at the end of 2004 were approaching $380 million.
In July 2005, due to deep ties to West Texas A&M University, the Bank gifted $1,000,000 to West Texas A&M University to secure the naming rights for the WTAMU multi-purpose and convocation center. The First United Bank Center is the premier multi-purpose facility in the Panhandle region accommodating approximately 6,000 fans for events such as commencements and concerts. The new facility was dedicated with a concert by country music artists Big & Rich.
In October 2005, the Bank’s logo was updated to better reflect its West Texas heritage and roots.
October 2005 marked the completion of a major renovation of the Dimmitt Banking Center highlighted by the Community Room in the basement of the facility. This Community Room hosts the annual First United Bank Christmas Open House, one of the largest social functions in Dimmitt each year. This tradition was started by Barbara Bain, the wife of Ray M. Bain, in 1986 and continues today.
On November 14, 2005, the Bank again expanded its presence in Amarillo by establishing a de novo Banking Center. This location was named Amarillo-Tradewind Banking Center.
On December 12, 2005, the Bank expanded south by establishing its fourth location in Potter & Randall Counties with the creation of a de novo Banking Center in Canyon, TX. The original Canyon Banking Center was temporarily housed in a modular building before relocating to the Bank’s permanent facility upon completion in July 2009. Total assets of the Bank were $465 million at year end 2005.
On January 1, 2007, the Bank expanded into Dawson County with the acquisition of The First National Bank of Lamesa. Total assets of the Bank post acquisition were $650 million.
On March 7, 2007, the Bank marked its 100th year anniversary. The actual celebration took place in October 2007 with a large celebration for the Bank’s customers and employees at the Dimmitt Banking Center. Country music artist, Trent Willmon performed an outdoor concert on the parking lot of the Bank followed by a huge laser light show commemorating the Bank’s 100 year history.
In March 2007, the Bank completed construction on the Amarillo-Colonies Banking Center. The new 26,000 SF facility was constructed as the Bank’s new flagship location in the northern Panhandle. The architecture and design features of this facility became the standard for future First United Banking Centers.
First United Bank later received two Gold IBAT Community Banking Awards for its Architectural Design and Marketing. The winning presentation captured each element of the new architecture and told the story of the Bank’s West Texas heritage and brand and were depicted throughout the architecture of the Bank.
In March 2007, the Bank completed its extensive renovations of the Lubbock-Northwest Banking Center. Every wall on the ground floor of the building was removed with the exception of the original vault walls. Despite the construction, the Bank remained open during the entire construction project by breaking the construction into numerous phases. Total assets approximated $737 million at the conclusion of the first 100 years of operations. The Bank experienced remarkable growth of over $685 million in the 20 years since Ray M. Bain assembled his team to purchase the Bank.
April 2009 marked the completion of the extensive renovation of the Littlefield Banking Center.
July 2009 marked the completion and opening of the new 9,500 SF Canyon Banking Center.
December 2009 marked the completion of the extensive renovation of the Lamesa Banking Center.
December 2010 marked the completion of the extensive renovation of the Lubbock-Southwest Banking Center.
On August 22, 2011, the Bank expanded into Wichita County with the establishment of a de novo Banking Center in Wichita Falls, TX, located in Parker Square Shopping Center.
On January 23, 2012, the Bank established its third Lubbock location by creating a de novo Banking Center at 98th & Indiana Ave. This 9,027 SF newly constructed facility was named Lubbock-Southeast Banking Center.
Total Equity Capital surpassed the milestone of $100 million in August 2012.
In June 2013, the First United Bank Board of Directors expanded with the addition of the following new Directors: Jim Bradford, Donny Carpenter, Mark Nichols, Stacey Morris-Potter and R. Scott Bentley.
In June 2013, R. Mark Bain (50) is named Vice-Chairman of the Board and Chief Executive Officer of Plains Bancorp, Inc. and First United Bank. Bain joined the Bank in July 1990 and has served as President of Plains Bancorp, Inc., parent company of First United Bank since March 2002.
In July 2013, the Bank’s Founding Principles were formally set in stone with the dedication of the “Legacy Wall” in honor of Founder, Ray M. Bain. These Founding Principles represent the values and beliefs upon which the Bank was established as well as the vision for First United Bank moving forward into the future. Mr. Bain passed away in July 2013 leaving behind a legacy of having been a tremendously successful businessman and community leader.
In September 2013, David Schaeffer succeeds Ray M. Bain as the Chairman of First United Bank. Schaeffer joined the Board of Directors in May 1996.
Michael L. Bain (46) is named President of First United Bank. Bain joined the Bank in December 1992.
In January 2014, new branding as well as a new tagline, “The Spirit of West Texas” was introduced.
In November and December, 2014 the Bank began the tradition of the “Spirit of Generosity” campaign. First United Bank employees gave more than $35,000 in random acts of kindness in its first year of the campaign.
The Spirit of Generosity campaign was awarded Best of Show at the 2016 Best of Community Banking Awards presented by IBAT.
In April 2015, First United Bank became one of the first four community banks in the country to offer its mobile banking app on the Apple Watch.
In August 2015, the Bank began the tradition of the “Community Spirit” campaign. First United Bank employees participate by completing numerous hands-on projects to build and beautify the communities served.
The Bank was recognized as the 2016 recipient of the distinguished Louise Allen Award for Exceptional Community Service by the Association for Women in Communications.
In December 2015, First United Bank introduced its first Interactive Teller Machine (ITM) named TellerChat. This new technology allows customers to have a real time, face-to-face conversation with a live teller. The technology uses video cameras to transmit images to a remote Personal Teller. First United Bank was one of the first pioneers in the nation to adopt this new technology.
In September 2016, upon making a gift of $750,000, First United Bank acquired exclusive naming rights to Lubbock-Cooper Independent School District’s athletic facilities (Football, Track & Field, Baseball & Softball). The entire athletic complex was renamed First United Park.
In January 2017, the Bank rebranded its Mortgage loan division as Spirit Mortgage.
In November of 2017, the Bank celebrated 110 years of service to the people of West Texas with the opening of the 20,000 SF, Ray M. Bain Conference and Training Center, which also serves as the Bank’s Operations Center. The celebration included a ribbon cutting, followed by a Mayoral Proclamation and announcement that First United Bank would be giving $110,000 in random acts of kindness, contributions and donations all across West Texas as part of our annual Spirit of Generosity Campaign.
On November 15th, 2018, First United Bank was recognized by members of the Association of Fundraising Professionals as Lubbock’s 2018 Outstanding Philanthropic Organization. A luncheon was held in conjunction with National Philanthropy Day at the Overton Hotel and Conference Center in Lubbock, Texas. The Bank was honored in front of more than 400 business leaders and community volunteers. CEO, R. Mark Bain accepted the award on behalf of the Bank.
CHECK OUT OUR IN GOOD SPIRIT BLOG POSTS TO SEE WHAT WE’RE UP TO.