Sue Turnage has come back to where she began – literally. Turnage grew the Frost Bank and Frost Wealth Advisers Fort Worth office to $7 billion in total assets over 20 years before losing her job several months ago when the bank cut its executive vice presidents.
Turnage landed quickly at the Argent Trust wealth group in March, assigned to open the firm’s Fort Worth office, in the same South Hulen Street building as Turnage’s old Frost offices.
With Frost having moved out of the building, Argent has taken over the old space, and Turnage in July is moving back into her old ground-floor office, where customers can easily find her, which is how she likes things. “My customers come in to say hello, have a cup of coffee,” she says. “That is old school.”
She says she’s not pursuing her old clients. “I have not approached my old customers,” she says. “I do not have a noncompete. I have not made a list of my old customers. But some of them have found me.”
Argent figures to funnel prospects to Turnage through its informal relationship with Origin Bank. The CEOs of both companies – Argent’s Kyle McDonald and Origin’s Drake Mills – are old college friends from Louisiana Tech.
“They’re both big Bulldogs,” Turnage, who graduated from the University of North Texas, says. “I’ve had to learn all this vernacular.” Origin doesn’t have its own trust or wealth management group, but instead works through alliances with other firms. It’s not had such a relationship in Fort Worth until Turnage opened the Argent office.
Turnage, 58, who has more than 35 years in banking, was unexpectedly cast into the job market by Frost’s decision. “It was a total surprise,” she says. “It was the best year we ever had.”
Turnage says she spent a short time having a “pity party, which lasted two weeks. Then I started getting calls.” She was at Frost for so long, she says, “nobody calls you anymore. You’re so loyal, you won’t move.”
Connected to McDonald, she drove to East Texas to meet him. “After five minutes, I thought I knew him my whole life,” she says.
Argent provides full services for individuals, businesses and institutions. It’s 50 percent owned by employees. Early this summer, it won a 2018 Stevie Bronze in the American Business Awards Company of the Year financial services category. New job in hand, Turnage says she took some time off. “I had to go to Rangers training camp before I would start,” says Turnage.
Argent took her direction on where to set up camp in Fort Worth. Turnage says she’ll run Argent’s service with the same “high-touch” feel she did at Frost. “Whatever one of my clients needs in their financial management, Argent has it,” she says. “Or if they don’t have it, they get it done.”
Net worth of her individual clients typically ranges between $500,000 and $1 million. “But I have worked for people who had much less. They just had a need.” Working with multi-generational families, like other advisors, she takes on younger family members with lower net worths. “If we’re working with an extended family, we want to take care of them.”