On October 16, Lubbock-based Victory Bank opened its doors for business following the successful acquisition of Security State Bank of Winters by Victory Financial Corp., the new bank’s holding company. Victory Bank’s headquarters are located at 4710 4th St. in Lubbock.
The company is led by former Lubbock Mayor Dan Pope, executive chair; C. Brett McDowell, CEO and vice chair; and Wyatt Leavell, executive vice president and chief operating officer. Victory Bank was built by a team of more than 150 private investors who contributed $55 million in capital.
Prior to co-founding Victory Bank, Pope served three terms as mayor of Lubbock (2016–22). Prior to that, he was founder, president and CEO of Benchmark Business Solutions for two decades, during which the company became the most successful Xerox agent/dealer in the nation. Pope earned his bachelor’s degree in accounting and finance from the Rawls College of Business at Texas Tech University.
“Community banks are critical to our small businesses, nonprofits and families,” Pope notes. “They power the American Dream.”
McDowell previously was president of the Centennial Bank in Lubbock. He launched his banking career in 2003 and joined Centennial Bank in 2007, rapidly ascending to senior vice president and head of lending for the Hill Country region. In 2016, he was named executive vice president and chief lending officer, prior to becoming Centennial Bank’s president in 2018. He also served on the bank’s board, as well as the board of the holding company, Commerce Bancshares Inc.
McDowell earned his BS degree from New Mexico State University and an MBA degree from Texas Tech University. He also graduated from the SW Graduate School of Banking at Southern Methodist University. He is highly involved in industry advocacy at both the state and national levels, which has included sitting on the Independent Bankers Association of Texas (IBAT) Leadership Division board. McDowell has served as a board member and finance committee chair of the Covenant Hospital Foundation board, as well as an advisory member of the Covenant Children’s Hospital Development Council. He is a member of the Texas Tech University Chancellor’s Council and finance committee treasurer for the National Ranching Heritage Foundation. In 2019, McDowell was appointed to the board of the Texas Lyceum, a nonprofit, non-partisan statewide organization that cultivates next-generation leaders. Members of the group are selected based on professional achievement, civic contribution and leadership.
“Our investors are business people,” McDowell says. “They know how important independent banks—making local decisions—are to the overall success of our community.”
Leavell, a fourth-generation Lubbockite, has served for the past two decades in various positions in the financial industry, including banking, mortgage and technology. Prior to the launch of Victory Bank, he was chief operating officer at Centennial Bank in Lubbock and, before that, held executive positions at City Bank in Lubbock. Leavell earned his bachelor’s degree in finance from Texas Christian University and an MBA degree from the Rawls College of Business at Texas Tech University. He holds leadership roles on multiple community boards in Lubbock, including as president of the Volunteer Center of Lubbock and on the boards of the Texas Boys Ranch and Ballet Lubbock.
“The Victory model combines technology and relationships—where the best bankers deliver the latest innovations and product solutions to achieve best-of-breed customer experience,” Leavell adds. “Unmatched communication and speed of delivery make the Victory model different.”
Security State Bank locations in Winters, Buffalo Gap and Abilene will become Victory Bank locations.