TxEDC Board Treasurer S. David Deanda Jr. Reflects on Rio Grande Valley, Texas’ Success in Banking
Rio Grande Valley banker S. David Deanda Jr. firmly believes in the future of his region.
Deanda, president of Pharr-based Lone Star National Bank since 2003, says the Rio Grande Valley is emerging as a major medical hub, benefits from its status as a growing gateway for trade, hosts a young workforce, and boasts plentiful land, water and utility assets.
“The RGV is booming with opportunities for people of all ages,” Deanda says. “South Texas will become a major metropolitan area in the next 10 years.”
In a 2021 interview, Deanda called the RGV “a diamond in the rough.”
Rice University’s Kinder Institute for Urban research reported in 2022 that the population of the RGV is poised to nearly double on the U.S. side by 2045 — from 1.3 million to 2.4 million. Today, the Valley consists of two metro areas: Brownsville-Harlingen-San Benito and McAllen-Edinburg-Mission.
The institute refers to the RGV as a “rising borderland metropolis.” In 2021, the Valley’s gross domestic product (GDP) exceeded $34 billion, according to the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis’ FRED database.
“The Rio Grande Valley has accepted the fact that it needs to be viewed from a regional perspective,” Deanda says, “and that together we are stronger as a region.”
Deanda says his role as a board member of the Texas Economic Development Corporation since 2022 enables him to showcase South Texas “as a thriving and economically strong business community” while also helping Texas remain the most business-friendly state in the U.S.
At the state level, Deanda believes he and other banking professionals can help forge ties between community banks and small businesses.
“They depend on us for growth and expansion, and we also depend on them for growth and expansion. It’s a partnership that creates a win-win of economic value for us both,” he says.
Deanda says community banks like his represent a “strategic alliance” for small businesses across the state.
“We recognize the need for continued expansion and growth in our local cities because of our local presence in those communities,” he says. “Most regional banks don’t understand the need for small business, and as community bankers we see the need for small businesses and what their success means to the local economy.”
While three out-of-state banks have collapsed this year, Deanda says his bank and the Texas banking economy are strong. Texas is home to more than 390 banks with $1.15 trillion in assets, and Deanda’s bank ranks among the state’s top 50 based on total assets.
“The regulatory oversight and management of the banking environment have been extremely sound,” he says. “I would rank the Texas banking system as one of the safest and soundest in the United States.”