When one vault closes, another one opens

by Patrick Flanagan

For Jennings-based JD Bank, IberiaBank‘s buyout of Teche Federal couldn‘t have come at a better time.

For Jennings-based JD Bank, IberiaBank‘s buyout of Teche Federal couldn‘t have come at a better time.Following the announcement of the buyout in January, a group of five loan production officers and three support staff from Teche Federal decided to band together, work as a group and find a new banking home.

"All of us had been offered jobs with IberiaBank, but we decided to stick together and explore other options and find something that was more of a community bank like Teche Federal," says Kevin Caswell, who started Teche Federal‘s commercial banking group 13 years ago and now heads JD Bank‘s loan production office in Lafayette.
"At some point we were contacted by JD Bank who was looking to get into the Lafayette market," recalls Caswell. "They made a proposal for us to come over collectively and essentially start their Lafayette, Opelousas and New Iberia markets. They saw an opportunity to pick up an experienced team of lenders that could be immediately impactful to their organization."

Caswell and his group of former Teche Federal employees joined JD Bank June 2, and for now they‘re working out of the bank‘s loan production office in River Ranch. But that‘s only temporary, which according to Caswell, was part of the draw.

"Even though JD Bank is based in Jennings, they expanded into Lake Charles in the mid-90s, and today they have 10 locations there," says Caswell. "And for us, we believe they have that same commitment in this market. It‘s not like it‘s going to be just one location. They‘ve expressed a commitment to go out and get market share and have enough branches to satisfy the needs of the community."

That expansion, in fact, is already in the works.

According to JD Bank President and CEO Boyd Boudreaux, a full-service branch is slated to open in Lafayette in January on the corner of Feu Follet and Verot School roads near the post office. Another full-service branch is slated to open in New Iberia in December, housed in one of the recently shuttered Teche Federal branches located on Lewis Street. At the end of July, Opelousas will be getting a loan production office, which will eventually transition into a full-service branch, though no concrete plans have been nailed down just yet.

"We see Lafayette as a growth market even if not more of a growth market than Lake Charles has been for us," says Boudreaux, who like Caswell, is also a Lafayette native. "We were looking for a change, and were very fortunate to be able to hire this experienced group of lenders already in the community we were hoping to get into."

Boudreaux describes JD Bank as a community bank. That‘s what Caswell wanted to hear.

"For us and the needs of our clients, being able to continue working as community bankers as we‘d been accustomed to is why we as a group made the decision to come, and it really was an easy decision," explains Caswell. "We were fortunate to be among those not let go by IberiaBank. We all had opportunities to work for them, but ultimately felt this was a better fit for us." (ABiz is awaiting word on how many layoffs resulted from the Teche/IberiaBank merger.)

Excluding its Lafayette office, JD Bank has 21 branches in the southwestern region of the state, and in April was named among the top 100 community banks in the country by financial information firm SNL Financial - a recognition bestowed on only two other Louisiana banks. As of March 31, according to the FDIC‘s website, JD Bank reported total assets of $749.5 million and $671 million in total deposits.