taos landscape with water

About Centinel

We are proud of our rich history in northern New Mexico and committed to local banking for the community we all call home. Since March 1, 1969 Centinel Bank of Taos has been about serving Taos County. We were founded here, remain focused here and are forever committed to helping Taos Communities succeed.

What started as one man’s mission for equal access to financial services in his rural New Mexico hometown, now is a leader among the nation’s financial institutions—Centinel Bank of Taos.

Taos County’s Community Bank

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. The Centinel Bank story is one of family, hard work and dedication. Half a century after it was founded, it remains a strong, stable and secure financial institution, serving all of Taos County.

What started as one man’s mission for equal access to financial services in his rural New Mexico hometown, now is a leader among the nation’s financial institutions—Centinel Bank of Taos.

Centinel Bank is Taos County’s only locally owned and operated community bank. It was founded here and remains focused here.

A founding principal, that remains today, is that a financial services institution exists to make the dreams of our local community a reality. Whether this comes from lending strength to local businesses, or through giving back through contributions including the annual scholarship program for graduating seniors, student work opportunities, and student success grants for teachers. Centinel Bank also offers an enjoyable workplace and rewarding careers for local residents.

Community banking is about building relationships and working for the betterment of the customers, employees, and community. The dreams of our Taos County communities are endless, and Centinel Bank works hard to make those dreams a reality – Let’s dream together.

Giving Back

When Centinel Bank opened on March 1, 1969 the tradition of community giving and involvement began. More than half a century later hundreds of organizations and thousands of individuals have benefited from Centinel Bank’s generosity.

Community events, arts, sports and recreation, community development, economic development, health and wellness and particularly, youth and education have been the focus of Centinel Bank’s philanthropy. In every Taos County community, Centinel Bank is a major donor and supporter of local nonprofits.


One of the most important ways the Centinel Bank gives back is through volunteerism. Centinel Bank is committed to making our communities better places to live and work. Every day, employees provide their time and talents for efforts that are important to our community — some teach financial wellness skills to children, others volunteer time for community events, some donate blood, or participate in walk-a-thons, and others sit on local non-profit boards. In fact, each employee receives paid time off for community volunteer efforts and are encouraged to utilize bank trained skills and knowledge to contribute.

As an organization Centinel Bank commits to over 400 hours of paid time each year for employees to connect with the Taos communities and help improve the lives of many individuals.

As we look back through the years of serving our community, we look back with admiration and appreciation to each director, officer, and employee whose dedication, diligence and contributions have made the vision of Mr. Romero a reality and helped touch countless lives.


Eliu E. Romero grew up 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 working in his flourishing law practice, Romero applied to the state for a charter to open a bank in Taos. That charter was denied, as were several other applications, until finally Romero’s 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.

Eliu and Elizabeth’s son, Martin, started working for Centinel in 1978 after having served an Albuquerque bank as a bank branch manager. In 1983, he assumed the position of President and CEO. His wife, Cheryl, took over as HR Director and they brought Cheryl’s mother, Pat Height, a successful CPA and bank director in Colorado, back to Taos to take over as CFO. Under Martin’s leadership and the whole family tackling any job big or small, 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. 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.

In 1999, Martin and Cheryl’s daughter, Rebeca, was appointed President and CEO, at the 30th annual Stockholder’s 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. Rebeca had grown up within the bank working different jobs, from her early days at the front desk stuffing bank statements into envelopes, on the front line as a bank teller, to lending and eventually, leading the entire organization. She worked her way up the ladder, not only in Taos, but in the country's community banking industry.

In 2003, Rebeca was promoted to Board Chair while remaining CEO and the bank began a new chapter with the promotion of Angel Reyes to President. Angel joined the Centinel Bank of Taos family in 1996. He learned the organization by working in various departments and with various responsibilities, starting as a bank teller, then lender and eventually working alongside Ms. Height to learn the responsibilities associated with bank investments and finances. Born and raised in Taos, Angel graduated from New Mexico Military Institute as the ranking cadet and completed undergraduate studies at the Anderson School of Management, University of New Mexico. He later graduated from University of Colorado’s Graduate School of Banking. Under the leadership of Rebeca and Angel, Centinel Bank remained strong, stable and secure while experiencing terrific growth and success.

2009 marked Centinel Bank’s 40th anniversary with the Bank being recognized as one of the nation’s top performing community banks, winning national and local awards for community and customer service. At this same time, Rebeca became actively involved in community bank advocacy, working with a handful of top bank executives in the country, with appointments to the FDIC advisory board, the Federal Reserve advisory board, the Independent Community Bankers Association (ICBA) Executive Committee and Chair of their Board of Directors. At the request of the White House, she also sat on a banking advisory panel to President Barak Obama. Her passion to strengthen communities became a realization that every community should have a community bank, like Centinel Bank, working for the good of its community. That passion led to her continued advocacy, at a national level, to support the success, not only of Centinel Bank, but of all community banks across the country.

In May of 2018, Rebeca became the fifth President and CEO of ICBA. Her appointment required her to relocate to their headquarters in Washington, DC, where she now lives and works toward the mission of strengthening community banks and their communities across the nation.

During this time Angel added the title of CEO for Centinel Bank, and with the Bank’s leadership team, continues to carry out Centinel Bank’s mission and vision to remain an independent community bank.

In July 2019 Angel was named Chairman of the New Mexico Mortgage Finance Authority. The appointment was made by Governor Michelle Lujan Grisham. Angel has served on the Mortgage Finance Authority since June 2011. His term is set to end at the adjournment of the 2023 legislative session. He also serves on The Independent Community Bankers Association of New Mexico (ICBA/NM) Board.

Since March 1, 1969 Centinel Bank has remained focused on fulfilling the financial needs of its community. Half a century after it was founded, it remains a strong, stable and secure financial institution, serving all of Taos County. The Centinel Bank is not a national or regional banking chain; therefore, everything--all processing, decisions, and customer servicing is done locally, right here in Taos by the near 50 employees who work hard, tackling all jobs, big and small, and doing whatever it takes to carry the mission forward.