Jeff Austin, Jr., Chairman of the Board, recently announced several promotions within the company’s senior management team.  Russ Gideon has been promoted to Chief Operating Officer; Jason Petersen to Chief Lending Officer; and Mike Gunnels to Chief Credit Officer.  All changes were approved at the November 13 board meeting held in Jacksonville, Texas.

“We are fortunate that the Bank has a deep bench when it comes to leadership,” said Austin.  “These men are proven leaders and outstanding bankers and I am confident they will help lead Austin Bank into the next phase of customer focus, market expansion and profitable growth.”

Russ Gideon

Russ Gideon has been in the financial service industry for 28 years, 22 of those have been spent with Austin Bank.  He joined the Bank in 1997 as the Branch Manager of the Bank’s Grand Saline office before being named President and CEO of First State Bank, Frankston from 2003 through 2010.  In 2010, Gideon returned to Austin Bank serving as Regional President, Deputy Chief Lending Officer and as the Bank’s Chief Lending Officer for the past three years.

A graduate of Grand Saline High School, Gideon earned a BBA in Finance at Tarleton State University, as well as degrees from the Southwestern Graduate School of Banking at SMU and ABA Graduate Commercial Lending School.

Residents of Frankston, Gideon and his wife, Cheryl, have two children.   The family is very active in their community.  Gideon is a past Member of Frankston ISD Long Range Planning Committee; past Board Member of Berryville Lenore Berry Baseball Park and numerous Frankston ISD committees.  They are members of the Frankston United Methodist Church where Gideon has served as a Trustee.

Jason Petersen

Jason Petersen is a 31 year employee of Austin Bank.  During this time he has worked in various departments of the Bank, most recently serving as Executive Vice President and Regional President for the Bank’s North Region and Deputy Chief Lending Officer since March 2018.

Petersen is a graduate of Hallsville High School and Stephen F. Austin State University, having also completed the Southwestern Graduate School of Banking at Southern Methodist University; the Texas Bankers Association Management Development Program; Senior Lending Officer program and Banking on the Leaders of Tomorrow.

Residents of Hallsville, Petersen and his wife, Brenda, have three children.  A community leader, Petersen is a past President of the Hallsville ISD Board of Trustees; past Board Member of the Harrison County Appraisal District; past Board Member of Junior Achievement; and a member of Eastern Hills Church of Christ.

Mike Gunnels joined Austin Bank as Deputy Chief Credit Officer this past July.  He will assume his new role in December following the retirement of Chief Credit Officer, Rick Waldrop.  Gunnels has 42 years of banking experience.  Most recently with American National Bank in Terrell, Texas where he served ten years as their Executive Vice President and Chief Risk Officer/Chief Credit Officer.  Gunnels also worked in executive management with Compass Bank and Bank One, both of Dallas.

Gunnels studied finance at North Texas State University.  Taking an active role in the industry organization, Risk Management Association, he has served as President of the North Texas Board, member of the National Enterprise Risk Committee, member of the RMA State Board and Dallas County ERM peer forums.

A native of Dallas, Gunnels and his wife, Jill, reside in Hideaway Lake.  They have two married sons and two grandchildren.

Austin Bank, a community bank headquartered in Jacksonville, Texas, has been voted one of the “Best Companies to Work for in Texas” for the tenth consecutive year. With assets of $1.8 billion, bank offices are located in 32 East Texas locations within 23 cities and eleven counties. Austin Bank is locally owned and operated by the Austin Family who is celebrating 109 years of service in the Texas banking industry.

More information about Austin Bank can be found on the Bank’s website at