A Happy History
A foundation of principles.
“As someone who’s written about successful companies—both large and small—I have learned one thing: The principles of success are simple, but the execution of those principles is hard. The primary job of leadership is to clearly present and continually reinforce what their company stands for. The team at HAPPY STATE BANK has done just that. Their principles are non-negotiable, meaning they are firm, fixed, unwavering. And that is how you create a meaningful organization that will endure.”
— Robert Spector, Author
2019 - 2021
Over the past three years, Happy State Bank increased its presence throughout the panhandle with the purchase of four locations from First Bank & Trust of Seymour, with locations in Memphis, Matador, Turkey and White Deer, First State Bank of Mobeetie, which includes its two offices in Mobeetie and Wheeler, Centennial BANK, with locations in Lubbock, Plainview, Slaton, Post, Tulia, Hart, Kerrville, Fredericksburg, Boerne, New Braunfels and Austin and First Bank of Muleshoe, with locations in Muleshoe, Dimmitt and Bovina. Most recently, First National Bank of Tahoka joined the Happy family.
Our roots run deep.
From its founding in the early 1900s, our community bank from “The town without a frown” passes $3B in assets, $2B in loans, and $28M in earnings. And in 2018, Forbes placed Happy State Bank on a coveted list as the third best bank in Texas.
Expanding Our Footprint
In 2012, the bank expanded into North Dallas with the acquisition of Signature Bank. The existing branch in Addison served as the springboard with a de novo branch in Allen in 2014. Other growth areas included Fort Worth, Abilene and Lubbock.
A Dream Realized
The “growth” gene in HAPPY's DNA continues to multiply. In June 2008, Happy acquired eight Citibank branches: five in Amarillo, two in Pampa, and one in Hereford, making Happy State Bank the second largest bank in the Panhandle with assets of $860M.
Precious Metals Aplenty
In August 2004, Happy acquired Colonial Trust Company—and became the nation’s largest trustee of precious metal, self-directed IRAs—converting it to a non-depository branch under the name of GoldStar Trust Company.
A New Happy Name
With growth, comes challenges. In this case, the name First State Bank of Happy was threatened with a legal challenge, prompting a rebrand.
In staying close to its roots, bank leaders chose to keep the Happy name and the bank became Happy State Bank & Trust Co., a fitting title for the way we operated and embodied our values and culture.
Time to Go Regional
The bank soon set its sights on growth outside of the core cities of Happy, Canyon, and Amarillo, with the new goal of becoming the first regional bank for the Texas Panhandle. In 2002, the bank was presented a unique opportunity to expand into Stratford. In the words of then Happy CEO, Pat Hickman, “Through these first 12 years we had only migrated about 30 miles outside of Canyon. Stratford was a big jump, being 100 miles from Happy.”
Giant Milestone of $100M
The First State Bank of Happy took a major leap forward with its expansion into Amarillo in the 1990s. A residential mortgage Loan Production office was opened in 1993, with new branches on Soncy, Bell, Western, and Tascosa introduced throughout the decade. The bank’s expansion into Amarillo would lead to a new milestone, as the bank’s assets grew to $100 million.
Opportunity of a Lifetime
Throughout First State Bank of Happy’s existence, the majority shareholder has been held by one family. Fast forward to 1990 when local banker, J. Pat Hickman, heard two pieces of incredible news. One, Mr. Carl Small was interested in selling his small town bank in Happy, Texas. And, two, recent legislation now allowed branch banking in the state. With a personal net worth of $8,000, Pat found 10 local families willing to invest at least $100k each in the purchase of First State Bank of Happy.
Banking Across County Lines
The first branch opened in Canyon, Texas on May 1, 1990, opening 198 new accounts that first day.
A Nice Start
Deposits grew from $10M to $17M in the first 30 days and tripled to $30M over the next four months.
The $100,000 investment in Happy State Bank made by each of the original 10 investor families is now worth over $5 million.
The Town Without a Frown
Happy, Texas officially is incorporated on August 14, 1925. By this time, the town had already built a post office, a lumber and grain business, a general store, a newspaper office, a one-room schoolhouse, an auto-repair shop, a volunteer fire department and …a bank. Soon after in 1926, U.S. Route 66 opened for motorists, leading to tourists flooding the Panhandle. This, combined with the oil boom that year in Borger, allowed Happy residents to keep that frown upside down.
Banking on Happy
The town is Happy, Texas – a watering hole for thirsty cowboys originally named “Happy Draw.” Passed over by the Santa Fe railroad for one of its main depots in 1906, Happy built its own depot as a cornerstone upon which to create a thriving community. In 1908, pioneer stockman L.T. Lester entered the scene. At the time, small towns needed capital to create jobs. Having already organized banks across the Panhandle and in New Mexico, Lester established the First State Bank of Happy – the only bank in Happy serving residents for more than 110 years. Did You Know? Early Texas Panhandle banks were among the first to use teller cages and round safes to thwart bank robbers.