Small start leads to big success

The first bank in Bridge City has a birthday this week. A 50th-year reception is planned for 5-9 p.m. Friday, April 16, at Bridge City Bank, 701 W. Roundbunch Road.

Patrons need not be bank customers as this a community-wide event, said bank Vice President Kim Davis.

The Bridge City Strutters, cheerleaders and team mascot will act as hosts and members of the Bridge City City Council will serve gumbo, with entertainment by Jesse Stuart and Ridin’ High. The food will be prepared by Al Judice and Kenneth Smith and served following a chamber ribbon-cutting.

“The bank started out with a certified surplus of $1,000,” says President and CEO Jerry Davidson, who joined the bank in 1979. “When I came in [as president in ‘85] we were a $16 million bank; now we’re at $128 million. So we’ve seen a lot of growth right along with the community.”

James Little was the first president from 1960-63, W.G. Thornell as interim president until 1965 and Fred Gregory until 1985. The first board meeting was Dec. 1, 1959.

“We focus on community growth,” Davidson says. “We strongly support small business. That’s basically our market.” Other services include personal loans, checking and savings, banking by phone or online, stock quotes and currency conversions.

The original offices were on Texas Avenue near Roundbunch, roughly the area where Dr. Mark Messer’s dental practice is now. Bank employees moved into their present location around 1980, and the building was remodeled around 1990. Other repairs were necessary after hurricanes Rita (2005) and Ike (2008).

“We had almost five feet of water after Ike, so the building had only been refurbished and rebuilt in less than two years and we had to do it all over again,” Davidson says.

Looking to the future, Davidson says there will be additional ATM locations, plus the possibility of a new branch, but he emphasizes that “From the standpoint of changing what we do, we probably won’t because we’ve been so successful at it. Last year the ABA, the American Bankers’ Association listed us – for our assets size – the 18th largest bank in the nation. So we’re doing something right. We’re community oriented. We know our customers and they know us. We never look at things as, ‘How can we turn down a loan?’ The first thing we want to do is say, ‘How can we make this happen?’”

Original board members were W.G. Thornell, B.J. Fields, Dr. Paul Myer, Byron Tinsley, John R. Saint, James Little, J.B Scales Sr. and Austin Floyd.

Current board members are Jerry Davidson, Howard Morse, R.E. Odom, Lester Winfree, Robert Cormier, Wayne Peveto and Scott Hale.

Bridge City Bank has 36 employees and a branch at 57 Strickland Drive in Orange.

For more information about services, call 735-3516 or go to