Texas House Speaker Dennis Bonnen Exits Role As Bank Chairman

Honest Austin
3 min readJan 4, 2020


Speaker Bonnen with Sen. Joan Huffman, Oct. 2, 2019 (Facebook / Dennis Bonnen)

Texas House Speaker Dennis Bonnen, who announced in October that he will not seek reelection, is changing jobs in the private sector as well.

Bonnen, the long-time CEO and President of Heritage Bank in Pearland, is set to become Vice Chairman of Houston-based Third Coast Bank under a “merger of equals.”

Texas legislators typically hold down full-time jobs during the nearly two-year interim between legislative sessions, and Bonnen is no exception.

The merger, first announced in September, has since been completed and the banks have “officially joined,” according to a joint press release on Jan. 2. They will operate under the Third Coast name and brand.

However, Heritage Bank is yet to fully rebrand and customer accounts have not been transitioned to Third Coast’s operating system. This will take place mid-year, at which point the name change will also take effect, according to a factsheet provided to Heritage Bank customers.

On its website, Heritage Bank currently refers to itself as “a division of Third Coast Bank SSB.”

Bonnen said in the press release, “This is an exciting opportunity to offer customers from both Third Coast and Heritage more locations, and service opportunities.”

His counterpart at Third Coast, CEO and Chairman Bart Caraway, commented that both banks have a culture of “grassroots values and customer-first focus.”

Although Bonnen’s role in the new company was not addressed in the latest press release, an earlier announcement disclosed that he would become vice chairman of the merged banks. This was reaffirmed in a report Thursday by the Houston Business Journal, who quoted a company spokesperson saying that Bonnen would be elevated to the role at the firm’s next board meeting.

As of September 30, 2019, Heritage had $257 million in deposits and Third Coast had $801 million in deposits, according to the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation. This means that the merger will create a regional bank with about $1.1 billion in total deposits at 12 branches.

Detailed terms of the merger deal have not been disclosed. The financial and legal advisors to Third Coast were Stephens Inc. and Norton Rose Fulbright, respectively. The advisors to Heritage were Hillworth Bank Partners and Larry E. Temple.

This year is expected to a big year for bank mergers, according to some financial sector analysts. Faced with persistently low interest rates and generally slowing or falling profits, banks also face the prospect of a new U.S. administration in 2021 that could impose tougher regulatory requirements. These are factors that could spur bank executives to merge in 2020.

Several recent Texas deals point to a pickup in mergers and acquisitions. A merger of Texas Capital and Independent Bank, announced in December, will create a McKinney-headquartered bank with $48 billion in assets.

In Abilene, First Financial Bankshares on Jan. 1 announced it had closed its acquisition of TB&T Bancshares, the owner of The Bank & Trust of Bryan/College Station, creating a combined bank with 78 locations.

Also on New Year’s Day, Texas First Bancshares, the parent company of Texas First State Bank (with seven branches in the Waco and Killeen areas) joined with the larger BancorpSouth, which operates in nine states.

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Honest Austin

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