Then & Now: Personal connections remain vital for Scott Powell

by Paul Gatling ([email protected]) 572 views 

Editor’s Note: The following story appeared in the March 28 issue of the Northwest Arkansas Business Journal. “Then & Now” is a profile of a past member of the Business Journal’s Forty Under 40 class.

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A banking maxim for years has been that personal connections are essential. Scott Powell says it is a fundamental principle that has only been emphasized in the past two years.

“COVID has changed the world,” he said during a recent interview. “But relationship banking is not going anywhere and will be as important as ever. I encourage everybody to keep those relationships and visit with people in person, for clients and bankers. The job is done better with a good connection and relationship.”

Powell, 46, is a big believer in white-glove financial service, leading the private banking group for Dallas Capital Bank (DCB) in Texas. Established 50 years ago, DCB is a Dallas-owned and managed boutique commercial and private bank that provides high-end clientele like entrepreneurs, business owners and affluent individuals and families a highly tailored banking experience.

Powell began as executive vice president in April 2021 after building a resume of managing and building similar teams at other banks in the Dallas-Fort Worth metro.

Powell previously worked for the Bank of Texas (2015-2021), where he was responsible for building the private banking team in Collin County. Before joining Bank of Texas, Powell worked in various senior roles at Northern Trust and BBVA Compass in the DFW market.

Powell said DCB is a client-first organization with impressive growth over the past several years. The company has a little more than $1 billion in assets — up more than 46% over the past five years — about 80 employees but one location. That’s part of what makes the company unique, he said.

Powell joined the company as a “pretty substantial” equity owner, an opportunity he was looking for.

“Things were great at the Bank of Texas,” he said. “But this was a chance to build out a private banking team on a small scale that I would personally be able to see results from.”

A native Arkansan, Powell graduated from Southside High School in Fort Smith. He earned a bachelor’s degree in organizational management from John Brown University in 2005 and earned a master’s in business administration from the University of Arkansas in 2011.

Powell honed his work for private banking clients — consisting of personalized financial services and products offered to a bank’s high-net-worth individual (HNWI) customers — in Northwest Arkansas.

He was a private banker for two of the state’s most successful family-owned banks: the Walton-owned Arvest Bank (2005-2008) and Rutledge-owned First Security Bank (2008-2013). The Northwest Arkansas Business Journal named Powell to its Forty Under 40 class in 2012. That same year, First Security promoted him to chief investment officer, overseeing the activities that build, protect and preserve customers’ wealth.

Powell said he was looking for additional opportunities when he moved to Texas in April 2013. His wife, a University of Arkansas graduate, is a nurse in the surgical oncology field and took a job in Plano. At that point, Powell was enjoying his career and professional relationships in Northwest Arkansas, but he was excited about the opportunity to work in a larger market.

“Northwest Arkansas is a relatively small place after you’ve worked for the Waltons and Rutledges,” he joked.

He said he didn’t realize that he’d be starting from scratch in Texas, despite working for two of the wealthiest families in Arkansas.

“I had people asking me if I knew anything about working with people with a lot of money,” Powell said. “Because I came from Arkansas. It’s been fun starting over down here and climbing the ladder.”

Powell said his goal is to continue setting the standard for a “best-in-class Dallas-focused bank.” He noted the bank’s involvement in aviation financing, which accounts for approximately 20% of the bank’s lending portfolio.

The connection appeals personally to Powell, who is a licensed pilot.

Powell, a member of the Dean’s Alumni Advisory Council at the UA’s Sam M. Walton College of Business, has two daughters. The youngest plays soccer at the University of Tulsa, and the oldest will graduate from the University of Alabama in May.

“That one hurts,” Powell joked. “But with the [scholarship] she got, Roll Tide.”