At their annual shareholders meeting in February, the Central National Bank board of directors unanimously elected Joe Nesbitt as the bank’s new chief executive officer (CEO).
Joe succeeds his father, Bill Nesbitt, who served as CEO since 1987. Bill will continue as a director and as chairman of the board.
“I’m incredibly honored and humbled by the confidence that the board has placed in me,” said Joe Nesbitt. “Over the course of its history, CNB has developed a proud banking tradition here in Waco, Temple, and Austin. We have an experienced team that thrives on collaborative decision-making, and I’m excited to continue working alongside my colleagues as we carry forward the tradition and legacy that our directors, our team of bankers, and most importantly, our customers, have built.”
After six years in the insurance business, Joe came to Central National Bank in 2003 as a loan officer. He then went on to become location president for the bank’s Bosque banking center, and more recently, the president at the Highway 84 location. Additionally, he has served for 15 years on the bank’s management committee, a senior group of men and women that—in addition to the CEO—includes presidents at the four bank locations: Carolyn Haferkamp and David Smith in Waco, Gary Schmidt in Temple, and Jason Becker in Austin.
A New Chapter
For Bill, the transition marks a new chapter in a banking career that began in 1963 with a full-ride scholarship from The Citizens National Bank of Waco. The scholarship, which was awarded annually, was given to the applicant who the bank thought might succeed in banking.
After holding part-time jobs in every area of the bank, Bill graduated from Baylor Law School in 1970 and became president and CEO of Citizens in 1980. In 1987, shortly after Citizens was acquired by Republic Bank, a group of investors purchased Central National Bank and hired Bill as its CEO.
At the time of their purchase in 1987, Central National Bank had one location in Woodway and assets of $68 million. In the time since, the bank added locations in Waco, Temple, and Austin, and grew to $1.2 billion in assets.
“Being part of Central National Bank has been a great joy,” said Bill, “and the result of some exceptionally good luck. It was unbelievably good luck that Walter Lacy chose me in 1963 to receive the 7-year scholarship. And lucky to have the part-time jobs in every department of Citizens while I attended Baylor. And lucky that Mr. Lacy selected me to lead Citizens in 1980. And lucky again that the Central directors—John Bowden, Pat Beard, David Kultgen, Bernard Rapoport and Mark Hobbs, Tom Chase, Kay and Lyndon Olson, Bill Clifton and David Nemec, and Drayton McLane III, and their successors—have trusted me with the leadership at Central for 35 years. I am grateful for the friendships built through the years and look forward to working for Joe and his extraordinarily talented team.”