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Monday, May 20, 2024
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A Man Dedicated to His Community R. David Guerra, President and CEO, International Bank of Commerce—McAllen, Texas

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R. David Guerra is an established leader at the forefront of the banking industry overseeing numerous International Bank of Commerce (IBC) branches in the Rio Grande Valley. Photo by Roberto Hugo Gonzalez
R. David Guerra is an established leader at the forefront of the banking industry overseeing numerous International Bank of Commerce (IBC) branches in the Rio Grande Valley. Photo by Roberto Hugo Gonzalez

Texas Border Business

As originally published by Texas Border Business newsprint Edition, some of the event might have change since it was published.

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R. David Guerra is an established leader at the forefront of the banking industry overseeing numerous International Bank of Commerce (IBC) branches in the Rio Grande Valley.  Guerra also serves as a director of IBC—Laredo and IBC’s multi-bank financial holding company, International Bancshares Corporation (NASDAQ: IBOC), the largest banking institution headquartered in the United States and Mexican border.

More than twenty-five years ago, IBC served the Laredo, Texas market with a limited number of branches and $250-million in assets. Today IBOC has become a $10-billion financial services company with over 275 branches serving Texas and Oklahoma.  IBC is special in that over the last 33 years it has never experienced a loss in any quarter. This is an extraordinary accomplishment that few financial institutions have been able to match.

What is the basis for IBC’s unique success? The formula is simple to explain, difficult to implement.  First, IBC has a visionary, hard-working, caring group of leaders starting with; Dennis Nixon, Chairman of the Board; David Guerra, President and CEO; and other dedicated executives.  IBC also managed to attract and retain passionate, dedicated, energetic staff members who are motivated to serve their clients with dedication and compassion.

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Secondly, IBC is community oriented in a genuine way.  Every staff member is encouraged to give back to their community in some way—volunteering, donating, leading, etc. IBC sets an example by donating hundreds of thousands of dollars every year to worthy community projects, and thousands of volunteer hours by its employees.

Thirdly, IBC is an innovator in providing desirable, convenient, quality client services.  The bank innovated extended hours of service by providing banking services after normal working hours, providing services seven days a week, and opening branches in convenient retail establishments such as Wal-Mart, HEB, and shopping malls.

Guerra is proud of his family, his humble beginnings, and is grateful for the help and guidance he received.  His grandfather provided love and valuable advice, his parents provided guidance, and his siblings set high standards of scholarship.  His sister, Cecilia, a pharmacist, is a graduate of The University of Texas at Austin; his brother, Robert, graduated with a law degree from Harvard; his brother, Rene, earned a mechanical engineering degree from Texas A & I; and his sister, Celina, has degrees in biology, accounting and education.

All four of his siblings were high school National Honor Society students, except for David, who readily admits being the only one of his siblings who was not an honor student in high school.  As a late bloomer David discovered the desire to excel while in college, and graduated with high honors from Texas A & I University.

His business and community achievements speak for themselves.  However, his most gratifying experience is seeing his children earning a solid education that will undoubtedly prepare them for success.

His son, Omar David graduated from The University of Texas at Austin and is developing his financial and investment skills by continuing his studies at The University of Texas—San Antonio and working part time.  His daughter, Sara, graduated from Trinity University and is now a third-year law student at St. Mary’s University.

Many people have strong views, but very few are willing to act on their beliefs.  David is passionate and not afraid to speak out on behalf of the underdog. I asked him some tough questions and he answered forthrightly.

He has a long-term “bullish” outlook for our local economy, and is adamant the Rio Grande Valley will continue to grow for the next 20 years.  During this 20-year time period, he predicts the Hidalgo county population will grow by 40% to 50% to about 1.4 million residents.

He underscores the four pillars of Hidalgo County’s economy are retail, medical, education, and government. However, when one examines these four pillars closely, three of them relate to government spending. Therefore, he states the county needs to diversify by attracting service industries and production plants. He suggests a manufacturing plant affiliated with a Fortune 500 Company would be a good start.  “It is time we attracted Fortune 500 Companies to our region.  Once these companies experience success in the Valley, others will follow.  Education of professionals and a skilled workforce are keys to our growth.  One of our biggest assets is that we have a young population. While we have improved our educational institutions, we need to intensify the development of our public schools, colleges, and universities.  It is time the community established significant endowments for UT-PA and STC to improve the quality of faculty and the delivery of quality education.”

He is quick to emphasize the Rio Grande Valley is doing relatively well considering the national economic recession.  The State of Texas has one of the lowest unemployment rates of any state in our nation, and The Valley is one of the brightest metropolitan regions in Texas.

Guerra voiced his disagreement with the current government’s deficit spending. He is adamant in voicing his opposition to the projected trillion-dollar deficit for this year. He said, “Real economic progress cannot be made with trillion dollar deficits.

Raising taxes, or raising fees as substitutes for taxes, will create more problems.  It is illogical to drive your country into trillion dollar deficits, and expect not to create further damage to the economy down the road.”

The economic depression of the 1930’s was not ended by government stimulus spending; it was ended by the production of equipment, goods, and services spurred by World War II.  It is commerce that produces tax revenues, and we need to remind ourselves that the free enterprise system has been, and is, instrumental in making and keeping this country great.

Guerra is committed to volunteerism and philanthropy, and does more than his share to increase access to educational opportunities and financial resources for South Texas students seeking higher education.

He just completed his term as Chairman of the UT-Pan American Foundation Board, and is Chairman of the South Texas Higher Education Authority.  Guerra serves as director for the IDEA public school system, has served as Director of the local chapter of Teach for America, and works closely with VAMOS (Valley Alliance of Mentors for Opportunities and Scholarships). He is Vice Chairman of the South Texas Health Systems, and is Director of the McAllen-Hidalgo and Anzalduas International Toll Bridges.  Guerra is a strong advocate for the Children’s Defense Fund and the South Texas Symphony Association.

In 2005, the McAllen Chamber of Commerce recognized Guerra as, ‘McAllen’s Man of the Year’.

The State of Israel honored him in 2004 with The State of Israel Declaration of Independence Award for his exemplary service.

In 2000 Guerra was recognized as Distinguished Citizen of the Year by the Rio Grande Council of the Boys Scouts of America.  In 1998 he was awarded the Distinguished Citizen Award by The University of Texas-Pan American.

R. David Guerra has received other awards too numerous to include here, but needless to say, these are but a few examples of this man’s dedication and commitment to his community. TBB

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