Texas Star Bank opened its doors in Van Alstyne the year the city incorporated — 1890, and just now as much of North Texas is experiencing unprecedented growth, so is the bank. It recently merged with BancorpSouth and will now be called by that name.
Originally, it was named the First National Bank of Van Alstyne, and opened June 2, 1890, in a brick building built especially for it at 242 E. Jefferson Street. The history of the bank and its officers is remembered throughout the town, including streets named for those visionaries who saw the potential in the town — Umphress, Turner, Hynds and Cannon are a few examples — and now with Billy Turner’s renovation of that historic bank building and his keeping the façade as it was originally built.
The Grayson County Historical Commission and the State of Texas Historical Commission recently conferred Texas Star Bank with a Texas Treasure Business Award. And it was a past bank president, Robert Hynds, who accepted the honor bestowed upon the bank.
Teddie Ann Salmon, chairman of the Grayson County Historical Commission, began working on this honor in June, realizing just how much Texas Star Bank has given to and been involved in the Van Alstyne community. The completion timing was perfect, as well, as Oct. 25 was the last day the bank would be called Texas Star Bank.
More than 150 people gathered inside the building, including city and county officials, law enforcement and firefighters, contractors and developers, and friends of the bank.
It was Scott S. Dumas who served as bank president from the day it opened until 1908; then R.L. Bowen served for the next six years. John Umphress was president from 1916 until 1950. John Kenneth Hynds served from then until 1956, and upon his resignation, Robert Hynds was elected as bank president. He served until 1986, then O.M. “Mac” Selby until 1997, when the current president, Randle Jones, began leading the banking team. Jones will continue working with BancorpSouth as market president over the many BancorpSouth banks in and around Grayson County.
It was in 1966 that the bank moved out of the original location on East Jefferson and built its current location at 177 E Jefferson, less than a block away. The original building was donated to the city, which used it for city offices until 2018, when Van Alstyne leased its current location on North Main.
In 2003, the bank’s name changed from its original First National Bank of Van Alstyne to Texas Star Bank. And Robert Hynds, it’s been reported, has maintained an office at the bank and handled a share of responsibility since he stepped down as president.
To be declared a Texas Treasure Business and receive the state award, a company must have been in business for more than 100 years and in the same location for than 50 years, as well as having to contribute to the state’s employment opportunities and economy during those years.
Salmon talked about how Texas Star Bank has impacted the community, including through Van Alstyne’s economic development and quality of life, then presented the plaque to Robert Hynds, who sat with his sister, Jane Robertson, as generations of their family introduced themselves, including great-great-grandchildren.
The bank was closed over the weekend for technological, signage, and other renovations to become BancorpSouth, then reopened on Monday morning, ready for business in its new incarnation.