SW Graduate School of Banking Foundation (SWGSB) at the SMU Cox School of Business Distinguished Award Recipients Elevate Financial Services Industry Through Service

Dallas. TX (SMU), June 02, 2023 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) — The chairman of Commerce Street Holdings and the banking commissioner for the state of Texas were honored Thursday at the annual banquet hosted by the SW Graduate School of Banking (SWGSB) at the SMU Cox School of Business.

Charles G. Cooper received SWGSB’s Distinguished Alumnus Award. The award is given to a graduate of SWGSB who has served the financial services industry in a way that goes above and beyond his or her peers. Recipients have made meaningful contributions to banking, and their work draws honor to the school. 


Cooper has been Texas’ banking commissioner since December 2008. His responsibilities as banking commissioner include the chartering, regulation, supervision and examination of 213 state-chartered banks in Texas with aggressive assets of approximately $419.8 billion. He has served in various positions with the Conference of State Bank Supervisors, culminating in his election as chairman in 2016. He currently serves as chairman emeritus. In September 2018, state banking supervisors appointed him to serve on the Financial Stability Oversight Council, and he was reappointed in 2020. He is also heavily involved in promoting cybersecurity in the financial sector and serves on the Financial and Banking Information Infrastructure Committee. The Federal Financial Institutions Examinations Council recently announced his selection to a two-year term on its State  Liaison Committee and serves as the Committee’s chairman. His career in banking spans a half-century. 

William D. “Tex” Gross received the Distinguished Service Award. The honor is presented to someone who has made a significant contribution to SWGSB, its educational mission and the banking industry overall.

Gross is the chairman of Commerce Street Holdings, the holding company for Commerce Street Capital and Commerce Street Investment Management. Gross founded Commerce Street in 2007 and has since developed new opportunities and lines of business, focusing primarily on the firm’s reputation as a leading investment bank specializing in financial institutions. Gross has more than 50 years in the securities business. He founded the Dallas office of SAMCO Capital Markets in 1988 and has held senior positions with Southwest Securities; Schneider, Bernet and Hickman; Cullen Frost Bank and Merrill Lynch. He holds a degree from the University of Texas and serves on UT’s development board.

Jelena McWilliams, the chairwoman of the Federal Deposit Insurance Commission from 2018-22, was the banquet’s keynote speaker. She managed over 6,000 employees and 5,000 banks during her tenure with the FDIC, guiding the financial system through much of the COVID-19 pandemic. She was a voting member of the Financial Stability Oversight Council and chaired the Federal Finance Institutions Examination Council. She testified before Congress on numerous occasions and spearheaded the FDIC’s development of a policy on digital assets such as cryptocurrency. 

Cooper and McWilliams also serve on the 15-member SWGSB Foundation Board of Trustees.

About the SW Graduate School of Banking Foundation at the Cox School of Business

Established in 1957 at SMU in Dallas, the SW Graduate School of Business Foundation (www.swgsb.org) is a top banking educational institution and partner of SMU’s renowned Cox School of Business. The professional school serves bank officers, community bank directors, regulators and other leaders in the financial services industry. SWGSB’s rigorous Executive Education emphasizes financial management, leadership development and strategic planning. Annually, the SWGSB  Foundation conducts the prestigious Assemblies for Bank Directors, a series of seminars and workshops held throughout the United States, Canada and off-shore for bank board members and senior officers. The Foundation recently re-launched its national  Certified  Community Bank Directors’ Program. For more information, contact staff at (214) 768-2991 or [email protected].

About SMU Cox

The Cox School of Business (https://www.smu.edu/Cox) celebrated 100 years of business education at SMU in 2020. SMU Cox is committed to influencing the way the world conducts business via prolific research that provokes innovation, change and global thought leadership. The Cox School of Business offers a full range of business education programs including BBA, Full-Time MBA, Professional MBA (part-time), Executive MBA, Online MBA, Direct MBA and Master of Science degree programs, as well as Executive Education. Consistently ranked among the world’s leading business schools, SMU Cox maintains an active, worldwide alumni network. The Cox School is accredited by the Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business (AACSB).


  • Charles G. Cooper
  • Tex Gross

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