With decades of experience and a passion for connecting with individuals in the community, Stephen Lee said he is excited to join the First National Bank of Bastrop as its new president and chief executive officer.

The bank has provided personalized banking to Bastrop County since 1889. The bank has gone through several changes over the years, but its core principles have remained the same, making it a trusted name in the community.

Lee said he was drawn to the industry because his father was a banker and he saw the valuable role banks serve in a community.

“I've been in this business for 35 years now,” Lee said. “I've worked for big banks, small banks and everything in between. I have always found my greatest joy working in communities and with banks where I could make a difference in people's lives.”

Before moving to Bastrop, Lee worked as the South Texas Area Banking Executive for First Financial Bank of Texas for the past two years and as the Chairman, CEO and President of First Financial Bank – SE Texas Region for the past 16 years.

“My leadership role was growing, but it was taking me away from the direct customer contact that I enjoy so much,” Lee said. “I found myself really craving that customer interaction. [In this position] I’ll still be actively engaged in both aspects here, but this puts me a little closer to customers and the community driving those relationships.”

As banks have adapted to changing technology, many banks have replaced tellers and loan officers with artificial intelligence. While First National Bank of Bastrop has updated some of its processes, it keeps people at the forefront.

Another factor that drew Lee to this role was the bank’s strong community ties and long history. The bank's response to the Bastrop fires—where it played a crucial role in helping the community recover—further influenced his decision to accept this new position.

“I’ve always loved being a part of a bank that’s synonymous with who the community is,” Lee said. “When I lived in Southeast Texas, our team led the way in helping our customers and communities recover following the devastating impact from two major hurricanes. I loved that I was in a position to help with those recovery efforts and really solidified the importance of the roles community banks play in our local economies. When I learned more about the role First National Bank played in recovery efforts from the fires in Bastrop... it was another reason for me to accept this opportunity.”

Lee said he is focused on continuing the bank's current efforts rather than implementing new changes. His primary goal is to ensure that the bank remains a source of pride for Bastrop's citizens.

“I want this bank to continue to grow and thrive throughout Central Texas and be widely recognized as one of the highest performing and best banks in the state of Texas,” Lee said.

The bank’s headquarters is located at 489 Highway 71 W., Bastrop. It has six additional locations with three in Bastrop, one in Cedar Creek, one in Smithville and one in Elgin. The bank offers financial services such as personal banking, business banking, loans, investment advisors and more.

To find out more about the First National Bank of Bastrop, visit its website.

The above story was produced by Multi-platform Journalist Mary Katherine Shapiro with Community Impact's Storytelling team with information solely provided by the local business as part of their "sponsored content" purchase through our advertising team.