The history of First Financial
Bankshares dates back to 1890, when Farmers and Merchants
National Bank opened for business in Abilene, Texas.
The bank withstood many challenges
in its early history, including the money panic of 1907 and
the Great Depression of the 1930's. In fact, it was the
only Abilene bank to survive the depression without being
merged, closed or recapitalized.
In 1957, responding to a more
diversified economy, the name Farmers and Merchants National
Bank was changed to First National Bank, Abilene. In 1973,
the shareholders formed First Abilene Bankshares, Inc. (now
First Financial Bankshares, Inc.) as a multi-bank holding company.
First Financial Bankshares first
initiated a program of growth through acquisition when it
acquired Hereford State Bank, Hereford, Texas, and Bank of
Commerce in Abilene in 1974. First Financial Bank, Sweetwater,
was acquired in 1981, and Eastland National Bank was acquired
in 1982. In the 1980's, oil and real estate values collapsed,
bringing economic difficulties to the Texas marketplace. Throughout
this turbulent period, more than 500 Texas banks failed or
required FDIC reorganization assistance with new ownership.
First Financial Bankshares enjoyed an enviable record of stability
and strength and was named one of the safest banking organizations
in the U.S. in 1990, one of only two organizations in Texas
to receive that distinction.
Changes in branching laws in
1986 brought further expansion. First National Bank, Abilene
was the first Abilene bank to establish branch operations.
In 1987, First National bought American National Bank of Abilene,
making it First National Bank – South, and built its
second branch on Judge Ely Blvd. Bank of Commerce in Abilene
was merged into First National and became its River Oaks branch
The expansion of First Financial
Bankshares continued with the acquisition of First National
Bank in Cleburne in 1990 and Stephenville Bank & Trust
Co. in 1993. In October 1993, the company changed its name
from First Abilene Bankshares to First Financial Bankshares
to better reflect the scope of operations, and the company
was listed on The Nasdaq Stock Market under the trading symbol
The acquisition of Southwest
Bank of San Angelo followed in 1994. The former Citizens State
Bank of Roby was acquired by First Financial Bank, Sweetwater,
and converted to a branch location in mid-1995. In 1996, The
Citizens National Bank of Weatherford and The Weatherford
National Bank were acquired and merged under the charter of
Weatherford National Bank.
In 1997, the acquisition of
Texas Commerce Bank-San Angelo was completed and was merged
with Southwest Bank of San Angelo. The bank was rechartered
as San Angelo National Bank. Texas National Bank, Southlake,
joined First Financial Bankshares later in the same year.
Cleburne State Bank, with locations
in Cleburne, and nearby Alvarado was acquired in December
1998. Cleburne Sate Bank and First National Bank in Cleburne
were then merged in March 1999. On January 2, 2001, First
National Bank in Cleburne, changed its name to First Financial
Bank, National Association, Cleburne. The acquisition of First Financial Bank, Mineral Wells, was finalized July 3, 2001.
On January 2, 2002, Texas National Bank, Southlake, opened
a branch location in Keller and changed its name to First
Financial Bank, National Association, Southlake. The name
changes in Cleburne and Southlake were designed to reflect
the expansion of the banks' product offerings, help our
brand image and broaden our market in these very vibrant sections
of the Dallas-Fort Worth Metroplex.
Organizational changes in 2003 strengthened First Financial's infrastructure and built a stronger foundation for growth. In January 2003, the Company formed First Technology Services, Inc., which provides technology services across the First Financial family of banks. In October 2003, the Company formed First Financial Trust & Asset Management Company, N.A. to provide trust and asset management services to the growing family of First Financial banks and to customers throughout Texas. Trust departments from First Financial banks in Abilene, Sweetwater, San Angelo and Stephenville were consolidated into the new trust company.
One of the most active periods of expansion in the Company's history occurred in 2004 and 2005. In July 2004, First Financial completed the acquisition of Liberty National Bank in Granbury. That was followed in December 2004 with the acquisition of First National Bank in Glen Rose. Both of these banks were merged into nearby First Financial Bank, N.A., Stephenville, to form a stronger regional bank that today has assets of approximately $300 million and six banking locations. On February 1, 2005, the Company completed the acquisition of the Peoples State Bank in Clyde. Peoples State Bank's locations in Clyde and Moran joined First National Bank of Abilene to become First Financial Bank, N.A., Abilene, Clyde, Moran. Peoples State Bank's branches in Rising Star and Ranger became part of First Financial Bank, Eastland, to become the leading bank in Eastland County. Wrapping up an eventful year, First Financial completed its acquisition of First National Bank of Bridgeport in December 2005 and merged it with First Financial Bank, N.A., Southlake, which now has six banking locations in fast-growing northern Tarrant and Wise counties.
In 2009, the Company achieved a long-term objective of bringing all of its banks under a common name, First Financial Bank, to improve brand identity and marketing efficiencies. San Angelo National Bank, Weatherford National Bank and Hereford State Bank changed their names in 2009 to First Financial Bank. Each of the Company’s subsidiary banks will remain as separately chartered banks to best serve the needs of their communities, with their own management team and board of directors.
First Financial Bankshares received numerous recognitions from the media and Wall Street in 2009 and 2010, culminating with the Company being named the No. 1 bank in the nation by Bank Director magazine in January 2010 for publicly traded banks with at least $3 billion in assets. Other banking publications, including the ABA Banking Journal and U.S. Banker, also recognized First Financial Bankshares for its high performance. In addition, the Company was added in 2009 to the Standard & Poor’s SmallCap 600 index.
In the fourth quarter of 2010, the Company made an acquisition that opened up a new market for future growth. The Company acquired Sam Houston Financial Corp., parent company of The First State Bank in Huntsville, Texas, making it the eleventh separately chartered community bank in the growing First Financial Bankshares’ family of Texas banks. Huntsville is 70 miles north of Houston.
Committed to remaining in the forefront of providing the best banking, trust and wealth management services for its customers, First Financial Bankshares is focusing on initiatives designed to meet the needs of customers, employees and shareholders. These include the “Customer Service First” initiative to ensure excellence in customer service, and employee training and recognition programs such as FFIN University and the Star Awards. First Financial is also committed to providing the best in technology, including online and mobile banking, treasury management and customer call centers.