About the Expert
Shelby Bruhn has worked in banking for 23 years. He holds an undergraduate degree in banking and information management from The University of Texas at Dallas and completed the Graduate School of Banking at the University of Colorado in 2017. In February 2022, he was named to his current role at First Financial Bank, overseeing a region which includes Southlake, Grapevine, Keller, Trophy Club, Bridgeport, Decatur, and Boyd.
How did the pandemic affect the banking industry?
The pandemic created a global health crisis resulting in unprecedented uncertainty, volatility, and disruption in financial markets, and in governmental, commercial, and consumer activity in the U.S. and globally. First Financial Bank management decided that, unlike many other banks in the state, that it was not going to lock its doors, would learn to manage through a pandemic, and would be there to serve customers. Because of this commitment to our customers, our organic growth was unprecedented.
With all the extra money put into the financial system during the pandemic, is a market correction imminent?
I can’t speak to the timing or even characterize what we are seeing as a correction, but we are beginning to experience some market traits we haven’t seen in a few years.
How have First Financial and other banks in Tarrant County benefitted from the influx of new residents to DFW?
The influx of new residents has allowed us to showcase why our region is a desirable area to raise a family, grow, and develop business and build new relationships. Those attributes play into our strengths as a community bank. The family and company relocations will continue, allowing us to maintain our momentum and grow organically.
How does First Financial give its customers the “best of both worlds”?
First Financial Bank continues to provide the community/small-bank feel by regionally managing our operations with local advisory boards of directors, local regional presidents, and local decision-making processes. We believe in playing a prominent role in the economic, civic, and cultural life of the communities served. First Financial Bank has the big-bank offerings with more robust product and service offerings that allows us to be competitive.
Where are potential areas of growth for banks post-pandemic?
With the momentum we have, we continue to grow loans, deposits, and trust accounts. This could be through organic growth or proceeding strategically on the acquisition front. First Financial Bank has had tremendous success, and this did not happen on its own, but rather came from the dedication and hard work of a very professional team made up of the board members, officers, and employees with whom I have the honor of working.