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About Centinel Bank

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We welcome you to our website and hope you will take some time to learn about all that Centinel Bank of Taos has to offer.  We have a rich history in northern New Mexico and continue to do more for this community we call home.  Please come back and visit our site from time to time to get up to date information on community events, news and career opportunities.

The Centinel Bank Story

What started as one manís mission for equal access to financial services in his rural New Mexico hometown, now is a leader among the nationís financial institutionsóCentinel Bank of Taos.

Eliu E. Romero grew up here in Taos County as his family had for 4 generations, herding sheep, subsistence farming, and speaking Spanish. He went away to school, served his country in the Navy and Merchant Marines, put himself through law school and returned to Taos. He wanted to practice law in his hometown and went to a bank seeking a loan of $50 for furniture for his new office. Despite his education, service to his country and roots in the community, he was turned down. It was a time in our country when discrimination was a common part of life, but experiencing the inequity, Romero vowed then and there to someday have a bank to service the needs of all the people in his community.

After years of a flourishing law practice, Romero applied to the state for a charter to open a bank in Taos. That charter was denied, as was several other applications until Romeroís perseverance led him to Washington D.C. and a federal review of his application was approved by the FDIC and the state charter granted. Together, Eliu and his wife Elizabeth convinced 300 Taos County residents to help them capitalize the bank, and on March 1, 1969, Centinel Bank of Taos opened for business dedicated to serving all the people, cultures, and languages of the Taos County community.  Over the years, the Romero family, individually and through their holding company, has purchased all of the outstanding stock in the company and today Centinel Bank of Taos is one of the very few minority owned financial institutions in the country.

Eliu and Elizabethís son, Martin, started working for Centinel in 1978 after having served an Albuquerque bank as a branch bank manager. In 1983 he assumed the position of President and CEO. Under his leadership the bank had spectacular growth and success, being recognized as a high performing organization and listed in the top 400 of the largest Hispanic owned corporations in the United States.

In 1999 Martin and Cherylís daughter, Rebeca, was appointed President and CEO, at the 30th annual Stockholderís meeting of the bank. Rebeca, a Taos High School, Wellesley College and Pacific Coast Banking school graduate, became the youngest bank president in the US, joining the ranks of only a few Hispanic women heading American corporations.

In 2003 Rebeca was promoted to Board Chair and CEO. The bank began a new chapter with the promotion of Angel Reyes to President. Born and raised in Taos, Mr. Reyes graduated from New Mexico Military Institute as the ranking cadet and completed undergraduate studies at the Andersonís Schools of Management, University of New Mexico. He received his graduate degree in banking from the University of Colorado, Graduate School of Banking. Under the leadership of Rebeca and Angel, Centinel Bank has remained strong, stable and secure while experiencing terrific growth and success.

2009 marked Centinel Bankís 40th anniversary with the bank being recognized as one of the nationís top performing community banks, winning national and local awards for community service and customer service. CEO Rebeca Romero-Rainey has been placed among the top handful of bank executives in the country with appointments to the FDIC advisory board, the Federal Reserve advisory board, the Executive Committee of the ICBA Board of Directors and, at the request of the White House, sat on a banking advisory panel to President Barak Obama.

The Centinel Bank story is one of family, hard work and dedication to the Taos County community. What started as one manís mission for equal access to financial services in his rural New Mexico hometown, now is a leader among the nationís financial institutionsóCentinel Bank of Taos.

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