Ben Love
My Life in Texas Commerce
Business History
6 x 9, 352 pp.
48 b&w photos., 6 tables., 1 fig.
Pub Date: 06/20/2008
Kenneth E. Montague Series in Oil and Business History
  paper
Price:        $23.95

978-1-60344-049-3
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Published by Texas A&M University Press
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Ben Love

My Life in Texas Commerce

By Ben F. Love
Foreword by James A. Baker III

In a city known for powerful business leaders, Ben Love towers as one of the most influential. Serving as CEO of Texas Commerce Bancshares in the 1980s, during the collapse of the Texas banking industry, Love had an inside view of the debacle. His story, told here in detail for the first time, provides an insightful perspective on the Texas banking industry’s evolution after World War II, its decline, and its subsequent recovery. It also offers a glimpse into of the kind of character that creates men of power. Love grew up with his family during the Great Depression. Their farm outside Paris, Texas, taught him hard lessons about opportunity and financial security lessons that would serve him well in the future. After Americas entry into war in 1941, Love flew 8th Air Force B-17 combat missions over Europe, then settled in Houston with his business degree in the late 1940s. His entrance into the world of banking began as a member of the board of directors for River Oaks Bank & Trust. Houston was rapidly growing into a metropolis, and he accepted an offer to leave River Oaks to join Texas Commerce Bank in 1967. As president of Texas Commerce Bank (TCB) in 1969 and CEO in 197289, Love cultivated change from single banks to holding companies, garnering a national reputation for his banking organization. In 1984, Texas Commerce was the twenty-first-largest bank in the country. Under his competent management, TCB was the only Big Five Texas bank to survive the economic downturn. One reason for its continued success lies with Loves successful merger in 1987 with the Chemical Bank of New York, now J. P. Morgan Chase. When he retired at the close of the decade, he turned his formidable energies to full-time civic and humanitarian work. Ben F. Love’s memoir is one of only a few available in financial literature and history. Not only does it reveal an inside look at the evolution of banking in Texas, but it will serve as an instructional guide to future business leaders and managers. The final chapter summarizes the experiences and lessons sprinkled throughout eighty years of a powerful and productive life.

A native Texan, Ben F. Love frequently appears on the state’ list of the most powerful individuals. Now retired but still active in community affairs, he lives in Houston.

What Readers Are Saying:

The book makes a significant contribution in documenting the banking and financial history of Texas from the 1960s through the end of the twentieth century. It tells a compelling story of a boy growing up in the East Texas cotton belt during the ravages of the Great Depression, a young man facing possible death flying twenty-five missions in B-17 bombers over Nazi-occupied Europe, and an adult building the most successful banking organization in Texas history. . . a must-read for aspiring business and community leaders.--Joseph M. Grant, Chairman and CEO, Texas Capital Bancshares, Inc.

The book makes a significant contribution in documenting the banking and financial history of Texas from the 1960s through the end of the twentieth century. It tells a compelling story of a boy growing up in the East Texas cotton belt during the ravages of the Great Depression, a young man facing possible death flying twenty-five missions in B-17 bombers over Nazi-occupied Europe, and an adult building the most successful banking organization in Texas history. . . a must-read for aspiring business and community leaders. --Joseph M. Grant, Chairman and CEO, Texas Capital Bancshares, Inc.

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