“Ideally, we would have started this year and because of the pandemic, it is to be determined when that will happen,” Rod Washington, Frost Bank’s Dallas regional president, recently told Dallas Express. “Prior to the pandemic, we were looking forward to completing Houston expansion plans and then coming to Dallas, which would have been right about now.”
Because of the impact of the coronavirus, Washington said that Frost Bank has yet to decide the final number of additional branches it will open in Dallas once development resumes.
“We’re going to take a little bit of time to reassess what we need,” he said.
With $42.4 billion in assets as of Dec. 31, 2020, intentions to eventually expand into Dallas are part of a bigger plan to increase Frost Bank’s presence statewide, according to Washington.
“We felt like we just needed more presence and probably Austin, too, with all the relocations that are happening,” he said.
Texas Realtors reported in its 2021 Texas Relocation Report that more than 500,000 people moved to Texas in 2019. From 2014 to 2018, the top cities for relocations were Houston, Dallas, Fort Worth, San Antonio and Austin.
“When I talk to people around the state, the Frost name has a great reputation, and I think we’ll have those similar results here in Dallas,” Washington said.
Frost Bank’s expansion plans into Houston include completing 25 new branches and hiring 200 employees, according to media reports.
“We had originally expected it to get done in 24 months,” Washington said. “It took more like 30 months so COVID slowed the process of the completion of it but we’re going to wrap it up this year. Houston has been a good market for us. That expansion has gone really well.”
In Dallas, Frost Bank currently maintains 15 locations and 23 in Fort Worth.
“We just opened our Red Bird location in the Southern sector of Dallas, which was part of our expansion plans prior to the pandemic,” he said. “We had already signed the lease, so we went ahead and opened that branch in February of this year.”
Growth, however, is not without obstacles as Dallas is a competitive market,
“There’s been a growing presence in North Texas from banks outside of the region,” he said. “We’ve seen the PNC-BBVA bank merger. We’ve seen Fifth Third wanting to expand its presence here, and there are other institutions that have historically been located outside of Texas that are either merging or establishing locations to establish their presence in Dallas.”
As a result, Washington views human capital as a commodity.
“They’re probably going out and recruiting talent that, if these outside banks weren’t here, we’d have a wider talent pool,” he said. “But, at the same time, with these mergers that are happening in the marketplace, it might create some opportunities for us among those who may not feel like a new institution is the right one for them. The competition has its pluses and minuses. Finding the right people to employ is going to be the challenge when you take on an expansion as we did in Houston, and like we will in Dallas.”