Standing Strong for 40 Years

South Louisiana Bank Is Now the Oldest Bank That Was Chartered in Terrebonne Parish

This year, South Louisiana Bank (SLB) is celebrating 40 years in business.

“It’s really pretty neat,” said Mickey Thomas, President and CEO. “One one hand, it personally makes me feel old,” he smiled. “On the other hand, it makes me very proud that the bank is now the oldest bank that was chartered in Terrebonne Parish.”

Originally started in Houma, SLB has grown substantially throughout the 40 years, with five full-service locations in Terrebonne and two in Lafourche.

Thomas, who joined SLB in 1985, said it’s the people of South Louisiana Bank that make it stand out from other banks. “We have an exceptional group of employees with significant longevity of employment, and our owners, our directors and our customers as well,” he continued.

“We’re in the people business,” Thomas added. “We deal with somebody’s financials; that’s something very personal. So, our customers want confidence in who they’re doing business with.”

That confidence is brought by the stability of the South Louisiana Bank employees, Thomas explained. “Whether it’s the teller that you see every day who you bring your deposits to or do other transactions with,” he continued, “or it’s your loan officer, or if it’s somebody in wealth management or selling insurance, it’s stability with those people that make a difference for us.”

The organization has faced and overcome a number of challenges over the years, Thomas said, but the most significant one is the 1980s oil crunch because SLB learned tremendous lessons from that time. 

“We had to build a balance sheet that gave the bank resiliency,” he recalled. “We had to have financial strength, capitalization, strong reserves, so that we we’re not having to focus inward on ourselves during a crisis – like the oil crunch of the eighties, or like the oil price cycle since 2014 that were still in – and that we can focus on our community and customers.”

Thomas continued: “And so we take great pride that we have the strength that lets us stand with our community and work with our customers when the economic chips are down.”

In addition to the renovation of a facility in Baton Rouge that will be the next SLB branch, Thomas said, it’s hopefully remaining on the foundation that was created is in the bank’s future: maintaining exceptional capitalizations and strong reserves that put South Louisiana Bank in a position to help its customers during trying times, such as the downturns in the oil and gas industry and the COVID-19 pandemic.

“For us it’s more of the same,” he added, “which means we’re going to maintain the balance sheet that we have so that we can be here for our community and our customers.”

A business that continues to grow and be there for its customers, Thomas said he is also proud that South Louisiana Bank has stayed on the path that was originally established in 1980. “It takes so many good people to make this work,” he said, before noting the valiant effort the staff has put in during the pandemic to take care of customers.

Personally, Thomas said, he is proud of mentoring the staff and “trying to make sure we have people in place who have learned the lessons that we learned over the years.”

“That is something I’m proud of,” he shared, “because I do think we’re doing a good job there.”