From World Ranked Swimmer to Successful Entrepreneur

joseph m grant

We would like to share this story with you because this man shares similar values as we do as our company, and we want to show you how integrity takes each of us a long way in the business world. 

Joseph M. Grant, a world class swimmer in his youth during the early 1960’s had an intensive work ethic. For those of you who do not know who he is, he was someone who became one of the most successful business men during his time of the century for someone who did not have a background business during his youth.

The main point of this blog is to inspire entrepreneurs that anyone from any background can become a successful business person. Although some of the articles written previously became successful in the creative aspect of the business, this man became a successful in the technical side of business. Technical business side is a very challenging feat, as it requires a lot of studying and education in order to become knowledgeable where you can turn that knowledge into business. This man was able to achieve that with hard work and dedication.

In the early 1970’s Grant credits the discipline that he used in his intense training as the foundation for his later successes. He also firmly believes that his unwavering ethical compass has allowed him to start a commercial banking empire with the most well-funded startup of any such bank in history. This same moral compass brought him to the brink of financial disaster in his personal life.

During the early 1980’s, Grant achieved his life’s goal when he appointed CEO and chairman of Texas American Bancshares, a prominent Texas banking company. He has spent his entire career preparing himself for this opportunity and had plans to take the bank to even higher levels of prosperity. When the outgoing chairman announced his successor, he also announced the first quarterly loss in the company’s 113-year history. Unfortunately for Grant, things did not get better. The bank’s assets were firmly concentrated in the oil industry in the southwestern U.S and world oil market fluctuations were wreaking havoc.

He faced anger form customers and investors. He also had to deal with the suicide of one of his senior officers. The stress and negative outlook were overwhelming in intensity. Grant had been a good corporate citizen and had invested heavily of his personal wealth in the bank. As the bank’s fortunes dwindled, so did his own. There were many opportunities to simple pack up his office, sell off his holdings, take his dished wealth and move on. He was encouraged to do so by members of his family and his friends. His essential decency would not allow him to do this. However, he saw himself as the captain of the ship and felt he was obligated to go down with it. He saw the bank seized by federal banking officials. Ultimately, the holding company entered bankruptcy and was sold. Only then, did he allow himself to move on. He lost everything.

Grant moved on. He became the CFO (chief financial officer) of Electronic Data Systems Corp. in 1990 and saw that company through a difficult spin off from General Motors Corp. later that same decade. He retired from Electronic Data Systems Corp and surprisingly, despite the trauma he had suffered with Texas American Bancshares, he moved back into the banking industry. He founded Texas Capital Bancshares and ended up with $80 million from his startup.

The purpose of this story is to understand that Grant firmly believes that his reputation for strict integrity and his willingness to lay everything on the line by refusing to bend the rules was the reason he was able to successfully raise the money for the new bank. To put it simply, people trusted him and trusted that he would always do the right thing. 

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