Branch Spotlight: PlainsCapital’s Brownsville Bank Branches Feel the SpaceX Buzz
It’s not every day Elon Musk tweets about your town. But PlainsCapital Bank’s Lower Rio Grande Valley Market President Raul Villanueva has seen the power behind the SpaceX hype and hopes the attention draws more customers to his Brownsville branches—the Morrison branch at 100 Morrison Road and the Price branch at 25 East Price Road.
“The big buzz is the SpaceX project,” Villanueva says. “Elon Musk has plans to grow that project and it’s the talk of the town. He recently tweeted for people to move to the Valley for a hiring frenzy. As a result, I got a call from a business owner in New York looking for financing.”
While the new SpaceX rocket-production facilities may be new to town, the PlainsCapital Bank Brownsville team has been together since 2013 with hardly any turnover. Made up of three lenders plus Villanueva, the team’s loyalty speaks volumes to the atmosphere and culture he has created.
“Our team has been together for many years. I brag about my people,” he says. “We regularly have lunch together. We have a true family feeling in this area. The term ‘family’ gets thrown out a lot, but we actually have really good relationships. It’s been a factor in our success.”
Villanueva has spent most of the last decade as PlainsCapital’s Lower Rio Grande Valley Market President but has been with the Bank since 1996. While he oversees all five branches in the Lower Rio Grande Valley, his home branch is Morrison. He and his team primarily provide lending services to retail and commercial clients. Villanueva hopes the SpaceX project leads to more work between the Brownsville branches and SpaceX suppliers.
“The Port of Brownsville continues to grow,” Villanueva says. “This is extremely important for the economic future of our community. The port generates many jobs and work for local businesses. SpaceX only adds to this growth. It has been launching rockets for a year and a half. People in the area have been getting calls from all over the state to purchase property in the area.”
As new business comes in, the Brownsville branches continue to support their longstanding relationships with local school districts and non-profits. Commercial loan officer, Ray Barron volunteers at the Brownsville Health Clinic, while Villanueva sits on the advisory board for the Vackar College of Business and Entrepreneurship at the University of Texas Rio Grande Valley. He’s also a board member at Guadalupe Middle School, a tuition-free school. In recent years, the Morrison branch has supported Brownsville ISD by providing financial literacy education to middle schools in the district.
“Our team is always active in the community. They are very engaged, especially with nonprofits,” says Villanueva. “One of the pluses of being a small community is everyone knows everyone. That works to our advantage.”
As Brownsville continues to grow and bring new energy to its community, Villanueva looks forward to the future of the branches while still appreciating the simple things that make the town special.
“There’s a great quality of life here,” he says. “It’s a small town. It’s safe, and it’s only four minutes from my home to the Bank. When my kids forget lunch, I can bring it. The city is filled with wonderful people, and there’s an infusion of cultures here. It’s a little melting pot. We have a lot of plans for this market.”