Edna Meyer-Nelson has been elected the chair of Houston-based Agility Bank NA, the first bank in the country established as a minority depository institution focused on women, but serving all. A former banker, Meyer-Nelson is president and CEO of The Richland Companies, one of the largest women-owned real estate investment firms in the country with more than $425 million in commercial assets. She is active in fostering the growth of the commercial real estate industry and supports a number of nonprofit organizations, ranging from women’s causes to children’s charities.
“This is a tremendous opportunity for all of us associated with Agility Bank to make a significant difference in the banking landscape in Houston,” Meyer-Nelson says. “Agility is uniquely positioned to serve women and all business owners. With a fierce commitment to providing technology that puts the client first, this is a bank that will always be where the client wants or needs to be. Rest assured, Agility is ahead of the curve for banking in the future.”
“Edna’s background, vision and experience as a successful business owner and banker could not be better suited for leading Agility,” says Lauren Sparks, founder and CEO. “She is an inspiration to all of us and is used to bringing women to the table. It was no accident that she was one of the first people I talked to when forming this bank.”
Meyer-Nelson has a history of wanting to bring financial services to women and businesses. In the late 1980s, she was asked by a group of her financial clients to form a women-owned bank. After careful consideration, she declined. “The timing just wasn’t right. Today, it is,” she says. “With almost 25 percent of the businesses in Houston owned by women, the opportunities are only going to increase. And it’s not just women making inroads into growing our economy, small and mid-sized businesses form the backbone of the success of Houston.”
Meyer-Nelson, a graduate of the University of Houston with post-graduate degrees from Southern Methodist University and the University of Colorado, began her career in banking at some of the largest banks in Houston. She grew her portfolio to more than $50 million and assisted in the buyouts of several independent banks, initiated and incorporated new, cost-effective programs and actively encouraged executive women to enter new business ventures. She formed The Richland Companies in 1993 and today manages more than $425 million in commercial assets.
She is active in the community and serves on the board of Houston Children’s Charity, the executive advisory board of the Graduate Real Estate Program at the C.T. Bauer College of Business and the board of the Houston Police Foundation. She has won numerous awards for her leadership in commercial real estate and business.
Agility Bank opened to customers in late May after a successful capital raise of $41 million that surpassed by 33 percent the $30 million required by regulators to open. With the addition of founders’ investments, more than $44 million has been invested, primarily by Houstonians.