FINANCE

Texas First Bank completes merger with Preferred Bancshares

Texas Independent Bancshares, the parent company of Texas First Bank, said Monday it completed its merger with Preferred Bancshares and its subsidiary, Preferred Bank.

The merger, announced in February, creates a company with $1.4 billion in assets and gives Texas City-based Texas First Bank 27 banking centers in seven Houston-area counties — Galveston, Harris, Jefferson, Brazoria, Liberty, Chambers and now Montgomery counties.

The merger, the largest to date for Texas First Bank, also gives the company about 300 employees.

“We’re excited to expand our presence in Houston and enter into The Woodlands, Spring and Conroe communities by merging with Preferred Bank, a local bank that has a strong desire to serve the financial needs of its community and shares many of the same corporate values as ours,” Texas First Bank President and CEO Chris Doyle said.

Preferred Bank will continue to operate five locations under the name Preferred Bank until October, when Preferred Bank will be renamed Texas First Bank.

Preferred Bank Chairman Herb Williams will assume the role of vice chairman-Houston at Texas First Bank, and Preferred Bank President and CEO Donald J. Najvar will serve as president-Houston at Texas First Bank.

Charles T. Doyle founded Texas Independent Bancshares in 1973 with the purchase of the First State Bank of Hitchcock.

— Laura Elder

POLICE

Ex-teacher pleads guilty to improper relationship

GALVESTON

A former Ball High School teacher pleaded guilty Monday to charges of an improper relationship with a then 16-year-old student, prosecutors said.

Eliezer Marquez, pleaded guilty to charges of improper relationship between an educator and a student, which were filed in August 2017, according to court documents.

Marquez was sentenced to five years in prison, according to court documents.

Charges of sexual assault of a child were dismissed in connection with the plea of guilty on the improper relationship charges, said Bill Reed, a chief assistant criminal district attorney.

“The complainant and her mother were kept informed about the case and were in agreement with the resolution,” Reed said.

School district police contacted Galveston police Aug. 8, 2017, about a teacher suspected of an inappropriate relationship with a 16-year-old female student, according to court records.

Police searched through text messages exchanged between Marquez and the student and interviewed multiple witnesses, according to the court records.

During an interview, the student told police that she and Marquez kissed at school and that Marquez put his hand up her skirt, according to the court documents.

The student also told police that Marquez picked her up in June 2017 and drove her to a secluded location where they had sex in his car, according to court documents.

Marquez resigned from the school district in 2017 after warrants were issued on the two charges, police said.

— Keri Heath

 Laura Elder: 409-683-5248; laura.elder@galvnews.com

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