When Steve Scurlock retires on December 31 of this year, he will do so after almost 29 years of faithful service leading the government relations efforts of the Independent Bankers Association of Texas (IBAT). While intending to spend just a few years at IBAT and then move on, Scurlock instead became a champion for community banks in Austin and Washington, D.C., for decades.
As IBAT’s director of government relations, Scurlock has been responsible for staying on top of state and federal legislative and regulatory activities that affect community banking. He previously served at the Texas Bankers Association and before that was deputy banking commissioner of the Texas Department of Banking from 1987 through 1991.
Scurlock started his banking career as a teller while attending college. Following graduation from Texas Tech University with a BBA degree in finance, he served as a state bank examiner and went on to hold executive positions at several Texas banks. Scurlock grew up in Austin and is a graduate of the SW Graduate School of Banking at Southern Methodist University and the Texas Tech School of Banking.
In a feature article in the winter 2023 issue of The Texas Independent Banker magazine—derived from a conversation with IBAT CEO Christopher Williston and a recent interview with Rob Blackwell, chief content officer for the IntraFi Network—Scurlock said, “The opportunity to represent such a wonderful industry filled with great folks who do so much for so many makes it as easy as anyone could have it in this business. There are some basic rules I’ve adopted and attempted to follow over the years. You need to know your subject matter and the process, and my background has proven to be a big advantage. Be nice. Tell the truth. Be responsive. Be respectful even when disagreeing with legislators, staff, regulators or whomever. You can disagree, and that’s part of the deal, but don’t be a butthead about it. Let your own political beliefs remain your own. Allies come in all shapes and sizes.”
Scurlock noted in the article that the future of community banking will be greatly affected by actions taken on Capitol Hill. “I’m not really sure how many more ‘great ideas’ emanating from D.C. these small banks can stand. ‘Death by a thousand cuts’ comes to mind here. And speaking from experience, it is infinitely easier to tell bankers how to run their business than actually to have to do it…It would be nice to have consistency and reason with a measured and proportionate regulatory approach and stop this unproductive craziness.”
Scurlock acknowledges that his career achievements wouldn’t have been possible without the support of his wife. “Becky Scurlock has been an amazing partner in this adventure and an asset to me and IBAT. We both have developed many wonderful friendships over the years with so many of our members. I’m going to miss the interaction with some amazing people and the challenge that is the legislative and political process, but I’m tired of running at this pace. We plan to take advantage of a surprising number of invitations from friends all over the state and elsewhere who have asked us to hang out with them for a few days. I’m looking forward to seeing my sons and their families more frequently. I want to play golf again. I want to go fishing more often. I want to travel without the requisite check emails and return phone calls daily ritual. I want to celebrate Becky’s kicking cancer’s ass and enjoy spending more time with my amazing wife and best friend.”
Last year, Scurlock received IBAT’s esteemed Trailblazer Award, which bestows special recognition to those who are especially supportive of the independent community banking industry. “A trailblazer comes along and creates a path for others to follow. He or she makes it easier for others to find their way and get to their destination successfully,” Christopher Williston, IBAT president and CEO, said in 2022. “Perhaps the greatest thing I can say about Steve Scurlock is that every path he blazes on behalf of Texas community bankers is a path blazed with integrity, respect, dignity and relationship.”