The Independent Bankers Association of Texas (IBAT) recently announced two promotions and a new hire in the new year. The Austin-based group is the largest state community banking organization in the nation with membership comprised of more than 2,000 banks and branches in 700 Texas communities. The organization is celebrating 50 years of service this year.
Wendy Foster has been promoted to director of government relations, taking the helm from Steve Scurlock who retired at the end of 2023 after almost 29 years of service at IBAT. Foster joined IBAT in late 2022 and brings more than 25 years of legislative experience to the job, including serving under Speaker Pete Lainey in the Texas House of Representatives. Prior to joining IBAT, Foster was director of government affairs for the Texas General Land Office, serving under Commissioner George P. Bush. She also was a private lobbyist and director of government affairs at the Texas Water Development Board.
“Wendy Foster is incredibly well connected, smart and passionate,” says Christopher Williston, IBAT president and CEO. “Her experience working with members of the Texas legislature is second to none and she has already made an impact engaging IBAT members in the political process.”
Along with Williston, Foster is joined on the IBAT government relations team by Bill Briggs, director of federal and regulatory advocacy. He comes to IBAT after serving as a consultant to the association during 2023. Prior to joining IBAT, Briggs spent more than two decades at the intersection of financial services issues, technology and public policy. He previously served as the acting associate administrator in the U.S. Small Business Administration Office of Capital Access for which he oversaw all aspects of the Paycheck Protection Program.
“I am thrilled to bring Bill Briggs into the fold as a full-time member of the staff,” Williston says. “Briggs has already been a critical member of our team as we have navigated the challenges facing the industry over the past year. His experience and connections to people and processes in Washington, D.C., have proven invaluable in ensuring that IBAT is able to make Texas community bankers fully heard on Capitol Hill.”
IBAT’s new government relations team, along with scores of additional Texas-based community banking advocates, are in Washington, D.C., this week, February 6–8, for the associations’ 30th Annual Congressional Visit.
In addition to the changes to IBAT’s government relations team, Apryl Salazar has been tapped to oversee the organization’s compliance team, including the Compliance Pathways and Compliance Select offerings.
Salazar joined the IBAT staff in 2021, bringing more than 15 years of banking experience to her new position. She began her journey in community banking while achieving her master’s degree in constitutional law at the University of Texas–Dallas. In addition, she holds CRCM, CAFP, CCBCO and CBAP certifications. Throughout her career, Salazar has worked in various roles, more recently as a regulatory compliance program manager, chief compliance officer, CRA officer and BSA/OFAC officer.
Under Salazar’s leadership, IBAT’s Compliance Select program offers compliance expertise tailored specifically a bank’s risk profile and needs.