This article originally appeared in the Friday May 31, 2019 issue of the Progress Times.
The city of La Joya switched banks Wednesday.
After meeting in executive session, Mayor Jose A. “Fito” Salinas and the City Commission authorized the move without any public discussion.
“I think they want to go away from small municipalities,” said City Attorney Kennedy Salinas, referring to BBVA Compass.
Kennedy Salinas said he believed BBVA Compass wanted to shift away from small city governments. As a result, La Joya needed to switch banks.
La Joya had nearly $5.8 million in BBVA Compass accounts on Sept. 30, according to information provided by the city. The La Joya Economic Development Corp. had another $138,000.
Along with the general fund and utility fund, La Joya maintains accounts for funds with special restrictions, including civil forfeiture funds and the local Tax Increment Reinvestment Zone.
The city published a public notice on May 18, soliciting proposals for bank depository services. La Joya requested paper statements every month, employee direct deposit and armored car services.
The public notice asked banks to submit proposals by noon Tuesday.
La Joya planned to score the proposals based on interest rates, cost of service, availability of service and the bank’s financial health.
How many banks submitted proposals and how they scored remains unclear. The City Commission packet didn’t include copies of the proposals or score sheets.
After about 90 minutes in executive session, the City Commission approved the switch to Lone Star National Bank.
Asked about the move, Mayor Salinas declined to comment.