Capitol National Bank, Winfield and Me

Back when my friend Winfield Scott, the CPA, worked for me we were being courted by one of the big downtown Austin banks. Emory Thompson was the pitch man for The Capitol National Bank that would come by and try to get us bring our business to them. I knew him, his family had owned a big tire business that had sold and he went from being a tire salesman to being a money salesman.

We had been doing business with a small local bank in north Austin, aptly named North Austin State Bank. They had done everything I’d ever wanted them to do. But Emory would tell us to really grow and prosper we needed to be with a “Big Bank”.

Winfield, seeing that we were going to need a larger line of credit he started moving our business to them.

It was a long arduous process but he worked out and satisfied all their requests. In the interim, we needed $150 thousand. We had an old machine that was free and clear so he offered it up as collateral. Wanting to get the deal done they gladly did a short term loan while the slow wheels of loan processing churned along. The old machine was only worth about $50 thousand, but that didn’t seem to matter as long as they had something for their records.

After a few weeks Winfield got the call the big loan was approved. The plan was for them to fund to our original bank, since we already had checks and was needing to take care of several large creditors. So on a Wednesday, Winfield was told that the funds would be wire transferred the next morning. He wrote about a half million dollars in checks to about a dozen of our vendors. He mailed some and hand carried other checks so everyone would be happy.

Thursday rolled around and he got a call from the loan officer that they needed one more document, some real estate mumbo jumbo.

The loan was primarily being collateralized by a piece of real estate I owned.

Winfield called our attorney and he said he would get right on it. It shouldn’t take more than 30 days to get this document. He then called the loan officer back and it was decided they could probably do something to work it out until the correct document could be obtained. The loan committee would meet the next day, Friday and he was sure all would be fine.

Friday came and went with no word. By Monday the checks hit our old bank. Yes, stopping payment on the checks would have been the prudent thing to have done but the dialog with the bank was all positive, so it never crossed our minds.

Our new loan officer finally called late in the afternoon on Monday to tell us that his bank had decided to back out of the deal all together. They had received word that we had “hot checks” out at our old bank and his loan committee didn’t think we were the kind of people they wanted to do business with.

We were speechless. But not for long. I had to get ahold of my old banker and explain the situation. How we were shafting them in favor of the Big Downtown Bank, but instead we had gotten shafted.

When all was explained they went ahead and covered the hot checks, but decided to humble Mr. Scott and me. They had us bring our complete accounting records to the bank. They made their conference room our new office. They required that Winfield and I showed up at the bank every morning at 9:00 AM for a meeting. After a few days the requirement for me to come was dropped but they still had Winfield come there until they fully funded the loan that we had been previously working on with the other bank.

My loyalties remained with NASB until the President and Vice President, with whom were my bankers, were both indicted and sent to prison because of some real estate scam. The bank was sold and I felt alright about moving on.

By the way, this all was taking place while Winfield was plotting to rob the Wimberley Bank. My bankers would have been thrilled to have known that story.

One would think that’s enough of this story, but there’s more.

A few days later Winfield received a call from the Capitol National loan officer. It’s been almost 40 years ago and I still remember his name, Brad Timberlake.

Brad said that since we were no longer doing business that we needed to come in and payoff the $150,000 interim loan. They were “Demanding Payment”.

When that news was delivered to me, I said I would gladly respond. I called the young Mr. Timberlake to see where he wanted his piece of equipment taken to. Of course he said he didn’t want the machine, he wanted the money.

In those days that bank sponsored an outdoor performance of the Austin Symphony Orchestra every Friday morning on their atrium on Guadalupe Street between 7th and 8th.

If he wanted to play games I told him I’d pull up there on Friday with his machine loaded cross ways on my lowboy trailer and walk it off in the middle of the Symphony while they were playing.

Hein Werner C-12 Excavator

He said he would get back to me. He called back shortly to let me know they’d be happy to do a note for the amount and let me pay it off over the next 36 months.

I always thought it was so nice of them to decide to let me pay it off over time. It’s good when people decide to be decent.

2 thoughts on “Capitol National Bank, Winfield and Me

  1. Great story Ronnie, When I came to Austin in the 1960’s I banked at the North Austin State Bank with Bob Watson. As that bank was bought out I followed Bob from bank to bank. He moved and I moved. Finally I gave up. The little North Austin State Bank helped set me up in Austin. Harold D

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    1. I had quite a history with that bank.
      Lester Duncan that was VP, went to work for an equipment company after he got out of prison.
      Kept up with him for a long time but haven’t heard anything out of him in years.

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