East Texas the new Wall Street?

By Layron Livingston - bio | email
Posted by Ellen Krafve - bio | email

TYLER, TX (KLTV) - Whether you're in north, south, east, or west Tyler, it's hard not to notice the banks on almost every corner-sometimes three to a corner. And, where there isn't a bank, just be patient.

"The fact that [banks] are growing here is a pretty good indicator that we're still hanging in there with a pretty competitive economy," said Tom Mullins, with the Tyler Economic Development Council.  "The banking services sector will not expand if the economy in the area is not doing well enough to support that expansion."

Expansion may be an understatement. Since January 2008, a dozen building permits have been issued for bank projects, mostly new branches of existing banks.

But new ones are popping up, as well. Texas Bank is currently under construction where Shiloh meets Rhones Quarter Road.

"Any type of building is particularly good for the city," said Michael Wilson.

Wilson is an engineer with Tyler Development Services. He said, overall, development was down last year, but non-residential construction was fairly steady.

It is too early to tell, but even more banks could potentially be in the works, he said.

"We're not just going to be opening banks just for the sake of opening them," said Tom Stewart., vice president of American State Bank.  "We're going to look and see where our customers are and where our future is."

Electricians and painters were putting the final touches on the newest American State Bank branch at Old Jacksonville Highway and Rice Road.

"I think there's a big exodus from the big box banks," said Stewart. "People want to go back to the hometown banks, the real banks, the independent banks."

They won't have to go too far.  More than 50 banking institutions are listed as members of the Tyler Area Chamber of Commerce.

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