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Centennial Bank Sues Former Happy State Bank EmployeesLock Icon

2 min read

Remember the potential lawsuit by Conway’s Centennial Bank against former Happy State Bank staffers in Texas that we mentioned a couple of weeks ago?

As of March 3, that dispute is now bona fide litigation in U.S. District Court in Lubbock, Texas.

The $22.8 billion-asset lender sued 17 ex-Happy employees who left last year and allegedly took things that didn’t belong to them on their way out the door to join American State Bank of Arp, Texas.

According to the 119-page complaint, former Happy staffers stole confidential information and provided American State Bank with “a bank in a box.” American State Bank’s new banking operation in the Texas Panhandle is supported by more than 70 ex-Happy staffers, according to Centennial’s lawsuit.

The lawsuit portrays Jerry “Bud” Holmes, former regional president for Happy State Bank in Lubbock, as the ringleader of the mass defection and alleged corporate looting of proprietary loan information from Happy.

Last year, American State Bank opened full-service offices in Plainview and Lubbock on May 26 followed by Amarillo on June 9.

During the first three quarters of 2022, deposits at the bank grew from $536 million to $645 million to $874 million. In that same quarterly time frame, the American State staff expanded from 128 to 170 to 217.

A footnote in the lawsuit: Helping bankroll American State Bank’s expansion is Patrick Mahomes, star quarterback of the Kansas City Chiefs.

Mahomes, who played his college football at Texas Tech in Lubbock, became the second largest stakeholder in American State Bank last year.

Inducted into the Texas Tech University Ring of Honor and Hall of Fame last year, Mahomes grew up in east Texas, where he opened an account with the bank when he was 16.

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