Photo: Bridge City Bank is in the celebration mood and mode. It will mark its 60th year in business with “A Community Wide Celebration” from 5 p.m. to 9 p.m. Friday, April 5.

Dave Rogers

For The Record

When Bridge City Bank decided to change its logo a few years ago, the big bosses didn’t pay consultants to design an alternative.

Kim Davis, senior vice president at Bridge City Bank, shows a visitor a drawing of the bank’s original building.

“We got together and sketched it out,” Kim Davis, senior vice president, said. “That’s pretty much how it works around here.”

Local, local, local is what they practice and preach at Bridge City’s first and still only full-service bank in town.

That’s why they’re calling their 60th birthday party “A Community Wide Celebration,” happening Friday, April 5 from 5 p.m. to 9 p.m. at the bank, 701 W. Roundbunch Road.

There will be free food, live music and an appearance by the Strutters drill team of Bridge City High School.

Bridge City Bank was founded in 1959, more than a decade before the city of Bridge City incorporated.

Today it has a branch bank in Orange, at 57 Strickland Drive and a third branch in Lumberton should open later this year.

J.R. Saint, Mrs. W.J. Cox and B.J. Fields made up the organizing committee for the bank, which built a $77,000 one-story building at the corner of Highway 87 and Roundbunch Road complete with drive-through banking.

E.R. Odom was the original chairman of the board and James H. Little the bank’s first president.

Directors of the new bank included B.J. Fields, Dr. Paul Meyer, J.B. Scales, Sr., Austin Floyd, W.G. Thornell, James H. Little, E.R. Odom, J.R. Saint and Byron Tinsley.

“The bank opened with $488,000 in total assets,” Davis said. “Today, we have $208 million in total assets.

“We had 128 original stockholders when we opened 60 years ago and at this time, three still retain interest in the bank.”

R.E. Odom, a member of the current board of directors, is the son of original board chairman E.R. Odom.

Scott Hale is today’s chairman of the board, as well as president and CEO of the bank. Other directors are Jerry W. Davidson, Robert Cormier, Wayne Peveto, S. Mark Messer and Jennie Scalfano.

“Our directors are all local. It’s something we pride ourselves on,” Davis said.

Brenda Edwards is COO and one of three senior vice presidents, along with Davis and Chris Kovatch. Vice presidents are Gay Maywald, Stacy James and Steven Monk.

Judy Thompson, Bonnie Perrodin and Michelle Richardson are assistant vice presidents. Rhonda Wells is operations officer and Brenda Foreman is compliance/audit officer.

Maywald is the longest-serving current employee, with 34 years at the bank. Davis has 26 years of service and Hale 13 years, seven as President and CEO.

Convenience and being customer-friendly with a focus on the needs of consumers and small businesses were the founding principles of the bank with an eye on innovative lending practices that are still in use today.

Online banking, mobile banking, 24-hour telephone banking, and ATMs have been added in recent years.

However, Davis said, face-to-face personal banking is still in fashion.

“I think what really sets us apart is to be able to make decisions out of that boardroom,” Davis said, her glass-walled office off the huge lobby adjacent to the bank’s boardroom.

“Our decisions come from right there (she points to the room next door). They don’t come from another state or corporate headquarters somewhere else.”