Karen Neeley, general counsel for the Independent Bankers Association of Texas (IBAT) since 1989, retired on August 31. The association paid tribute to Neeley’s many years of service to the community banking industry in a special edition of its ongoing Ask IBAT Anything series.
“After 33 years of representing IBAT as its general counsel, it is time for me to devote my full-time energy to family matters,” Neeley said when announcing her retirement earlier this year. “It has been a privilege to work with the fine community bankers of Texas and all of the IBAT family.”
“Things have changed so very much since I started representing banks—the speed of change and volume of change is so significant,” she observed in the Ask IBAT Anything video broadcast on August 17. “All of the offerings from IBAT become that much more critical as we try to deal with an overload on the regulatory scene.”
Neeley has been a frequent contributor to Bankers Digest and has written extensively in IBAT’s flagship publication, The Texas Independent Banker. In her final article in The Texas Independent Banker as general counsel, she focuses on the sea of change that has engulfed the community banking industry over the past three decades.
As IBAT’s representative, Neeley has testified and provided comments frequently before the Texas Legislature and various state and federal regulatory bodies. She is a frequent writer and lecturer on banking topics. She contributes to Compliance Pathways, a community bank compliance resource that includes her What’s Keeping Me Up weekly newsletter. Other publications she has written for the association include the Home Equity Handbook, Code of Ethics, Loan Policies and Procedures Manual and the Texas Bank Director Handbook.
As a speaker, Neeley has presented at IBAT’s Consumer Compliance Conference, Operations Summit and Lending Summit; the Southwestern Graduate School of Banking’s Certified Community Bank Director Program; and numerous other programs for banking and attorney organizations.
In addition to her service at the Independent Bankers Association of Texas, Neeley also served as senior counsel for Kennedy Sutherland LLP (2015–20) and Dykema Cox Smith (2006–15). Prior to that, she represented an array of financial services clients serving as of counsel at Long Burner Parks & DeLargy PC (2000–06).
A graduate of the University of Texas–Austin, Neeley received her BA degree in history with high honors and JD degree with honors. She is a member of numerous professional organizations, including the State Bar of Texas, American Bar Association and Southwest Association of Bank Counsel. She is also a member of the Texas Society of Association Executives. Neeley is admitted to practice before the U.S. Supreme Court and Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals, as well as the Texas Supreme Court.
In her decades of service, Neeley has amassed nearly every honor bestowed by IBAT and other organizations she has served. “Every community banker in the state of Texas owes Karen a debt of gratitude for the work she has done so well,” says Tom Sellers, IBAT’s immediate past chair and CEO of Sulphur Springs-based Alliance Bank.
IBAT plans to honor Neeley in December for her years of service to the community banking industry.