The Barometer Of The Banks: How The Southside Is Winning and Why

Matt Briscoe
Publisher/Managing Editor
The Southside Light 

Take a drive around the Southside and you see growth nearly everywhere. There is no doubt that the economy is doing great right now and despite geopolitical insights, Corpus Christi and the Southside is certainly taking excellent advantage of the recent good fortunes.

New home communities are popping up everywhere. Right alongside them are the banks. Whenever banks start investing into a community is when you can really start to see and feel the economics at play.

For what it’s worth, bank boards tend to be calculated risk takers—it’s in their nature to be that way. When banks close up shop, you can bet that the economic health of a community is in trouble. But likewise, when they move into an area, that tends to speak volumes about the stability of the hyperlocal economy. My case in point: you don’t bank on where there isn’t any money.

Homebuilders, need banks in order to build spec homes. Homebuyers need banks to purchase those spec homes. It’s real simple, banks speak volumes for economic health—especially at the hyperlocal level.

While driving around recently, I noticed several banks and credit unions popping up along the main traffic routes of the Southside. RBFCU seems to be one of those banks that are fully recognizing this economic good fortune here.

If a bank costs half a million to put in, do you think they are going to do it in an area where very little money ebbs and flows? Of course not. They are going to go where the money is, and you can’t blame them for it.

When it comes to economic health, homes are a great barometer, At the regional level, North Texas continued to adjust after several years of explosive growth, while the Central Texas expansion continued. That being said, places like our Southside can’t be ruled out as non-players.

A solid reprise in mortgage rate increases provided some breathing room for prospective purchasers, but housing affordability remained a challenge across the state. But taking a look at here in our neck of the woods, we still have places like the Hill Country beat when it comes to affordable housing. In fact, Houston and Dallas can’t even come close to what we here on the Southside of Corpus can offer.

I’m by far not an economist, but I can see the writing on the wall. The healthy labor market, population growth, and the economic promise of our area certainly does support housing demand and with that demand comes the banks.

Think about it like this, if the hyperlocal economy is healthy, homebuyers will buy and builders will build. Along with that comes the need for equipment to build those houses, money to support labor, and the associated costs to get those properties into the hands of buyers. Furthermore, when a an area's economic health is great, banks want to move in because following homes are the trucks, the boats and the recreational vehicles—the status symbol of choice for today’s Texan. Where does that money come from? The banks, of course.

All of this speaks well for local spending, too. With the growth comes new opportunities for hyperlocal communities to grow. If you know anything about Fort Bend County, near Houston you know that it is a booming Mecca of growth. The same way with Round Rock, Georgetown and Denton. The banks moved in and the growth boomed.

To some, growth is a bad, bad, bad thing. They subconsciously sabotage prosperity for the way things used to be and for the way things have always been. Local leaders are very, very influential in that process. They often selected the wrong people for the right jobs. Cronyism and nepotism are paramount to the vision of the glory days of old. Those ideas do not harbor anything but certain death. But I don’t think that’s what we have here in our community.

We have multi-family housing units competing for renters, new homes going up, retail spaces popping up like Spring flowers and a labor market that represents the surrounding community. Most of all, we have banks moving in, and that is the tale of the tape for the epic thriller that’s about to play out right before our very eyes.


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