As Vice President, Branch Operations Manager at Texas Partners Bank, Rene Alfaro is laser-focused on growth. He works with his team to create a service-first experience for all clients at Texas Partners Bank. His team works diligently to create a memorable experience across all three banks: The Bank of San Antonio, The Bank of Austin and Texas Hill Country Bank.
Rene shares about what excites him most in leading his team, how the Texas Partners Bank growth-mindset culture has powered him to make an community impact through his work, and the passion he has for mentoring younger generations.
How did you end up at Texas Partners Bank?
My connection with our chief operating officer, Tom Moreno. We worked together early in our careers, about 20 years ago, and we stayed in touch. In 2020, he reached out to me and we had a great conversation about the bank’s growth and vision. My skill set, background and experience aligned with his goals for Texas Partners Bank.
What attracted you to your position?
The opportunity to build attracted me. I spent 21 years building my career and learning the ins and outs of banking, all with the drive to make the client experience better by seeking service gaps for improvement. I have a service-first mentality, and I was excited about the potential for growth. In my role, I am able to elevate service and we focus on making the banking experience the best that it can be. There will always be ways that we can grow and improve.
What have you enjoyed most about your role so far?
What I have enjoyed most has been the opportunity to build out the strategy for the Texas Partners Bank network, because we grew from five branches to 10 branches almost overnight with our merger. I am building our strategy for what we want the banking experience to be as we build for future growth.
What strategic projects are you working on within your role, more specifically?
The strategic projects we are working on deal with issues like growth, and our staffing models for that; how we incorporate all of the operational functions from each market so that we grow the best and most optimal team. Then there are projects that address what we want our financial centers to look like, feel like, and even smell like. Everything communicates to clients to create an overall excellent experience, so having brand unity at the forefront is important. The goal is that when a client walks into one Texas Partners Bank location, whether it's in the Hill Country market, Austin market or San Antonio market, they know that we are on one unified mission—which is to power growth in the communities we serve.
Since you have started with Texas Partners Bank, how have you grown in your career?
The growth I've experienced here is by adding new operational skills to my wheelhouse. I've learned a lot when it comes to the requirements for the ancillary products that support the client experience. And because of the merger, I’m not managing that client experience at just one location, but several.
The other thing we have done that I’m proud of is establishing and growing our client experience team. We took the bank’s vision and solidified a client experience team who works collaboratively with our internal partners to make sure that our clients are getting top service.
What makes you proud to be a partner at Texas Partners Bank?
Our culture. The impact we can make at this bank happens quickly. Everything moves faster because Texas Partners Bank is fluid and fast-acting. We don't have the bureaucracy that comes with a big bank, so we're able to make decisions with speed and agility. I feel that our company culture and the way we operate allows me to put my decades of experience to real use and impact change.
What advice do you have for young professionals who are wanting to grow their careers?
I have had mentorship opportunities recently, where people have selected me to be their mentors through various professional organizations. One of the things that I always share with my mentees is, don't ever be afraid to use your voice. Always make sure that it is heard. A lot of people don't speak up because they're afraid that there will be ramifications to their job opportunities. But the companies we work for hire us to make decisions, and if we're not really exercising our ability to provide good feedback to the company, we may be undervalued.
The way that you can boldly demonstrate value is by making thoughtful recommendations, and the team can improve processes. The employees who exercise their voices the most are the ones who get to develop and grow the fastest.
Where do you see yourself in five years?
In five years, I hope that I'm doing what I still love to do and making sure that I still have some type of leadership opportunity to help guide the next generation in the workforce. That's the only way that I can assure that I will have a good legacy when I retire. When people who have worked for me have risen to top leadership positions and I’m either working for them, or they've outgrown what they need from me and then have to seek another mentor elsewhere... That is the goal. I want to make sure that I'm able to provide leadership opportunities to younger people in our company who will replace me one day.