Dallas Business Journal by Chad Eric Watt, Staff Writer — October 31, 2008
Robert Messer confesses that he’s more of a strategy guy than a numbers guy. That’s why the CFO of American National Bank of Texas has been the point man in the institution’s expansion into Fort Worth and Dallas.
“In a smaller organization, you put the people into an operation that need to be involved,” he said. “You just evolve into the job.”
In addition to leading the bank’s expansion efforts, Messer, a native of Sulphur Springs, is heavily involved in the City of Terrell and Kaufman County. He has served two terms on the Terrell City Council and has been a leader in the Kiwanis Club and youth baseball. He is a former president of the Kaufman County A&M Club.
American National was a small organization when Messer joined it 25 years ago working out agriculture loans that had gone bad. At that time, the bank had one office and $112 million in total assets.
Today, Terrell-based American National has 24 offices and $1.8 billion in total assets on its books.
“Our need is someone who can bring together the number with strategy,” said Robert Hulsey, president and CEO of the bank.
Beyond getting the deals done, Messer has played a strong role in guiding American National to doing the right deals. The bank embarked on its expansion plans in 1989, acquiring bank operations in Forney, Rockwall and Wylie. In some instances, American National was acquiring failed institutions. In other cases, it was buying into second-tier operations.
“Part of our success is that after we acquired institutions, we’ve been able to grow them,” Hulsey said. For instance, when American National moved into Rockwall, it was the No. 4 bank there. Today, it’s twice as large as its nearest competitor.
But none of those deals proved as immediately challenging as American National’s 2008 acquisitions of Dallas National Bank and Citizens National Bank in Fort Worth.
“East Texas has given us a good deposit base,” Messer said. “There are great opportunities in the Dallas-Fort Worth Metroplex, and we think the market receives our kind of banking very well.
“We deal in people instead of institutions – that’s sold very well in Dallas and Fort Worth, and Collin County too.”