September 10, 2013 Edition

Troubling questions raised about Oakwood Bank purchaser

By Melissa Missildine


Oakwood State Bank Oakwood State Bank According to an advertisement in another county newspaper, Jorge Rodrigo Mario Rangel de Alba Brunel has filed an Interagency Notice of Change in Control with the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation and simultaneously applied with the Texas Department of Banking on or about September 3, 2013 to acquire shares of common stock of the Oakwood State Bank.

The notice to the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation gives any person wishing to comment on the change in control until September 24, 2013 to do so, in writing, to the Regional Director of the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation at the regional office located at 1601 Bryan Street, 38th floor, Dallas, TX. As for the notice to the Texas Department of Banking, it states that it is permission to acquire common stocks to gain control of the Oak- wood State Bank. Any person wishing to comment on the application either for, or against, the applicant taking control of the bank has only fourteen days after the notice was placed in the newspaper (on September 3) to do so, in writing. Also, any person wishing to file a protest and oppose the proposed change in control and participate in the application process may also do so by filing a written notice during this fourteen day period, along with a $2,500 protest filing fee. This fee may be waved by the Banking Commissioner if there is a showing of substantial hardship.

Information about the applicant is scarce but this is not his first banking venture. Jorge Rodrigo Mario Rangel de Alba Brunel is listed as the President of Administration of Ci Banco. According to an article in the Diario de Orizaba (Orizaba Daily newspaper in Orizaba, Veracruz, Mexico (http://www.diariodeorizaba.com/) from November 16, 2012, Jorge Rodrigo Mario Rangel de Alba, in his capacity as President of Ci Banco, was investigated by the Attorney General of Mexico for money laundering. The article says details of the investigation were not released by the Attorney General of Mexico’s office but it referenced illegal use of existing bank accounts and online services, and there were questions as to where the large money transactions had originated. It indicated that the directors of the bank had knowingly signed off on and took measures to hide the illegal activity by transfering amounts under $15,000 to avoid tax penalties and detection. It lists Jorge Rodrigo Mario Rangel de Alba as one of the directors being directily investigated. He is also listed as the Director of Pemmington Holdings Limited out of Auckland, New Zealand with a Maria Luisa Rangel de Alba as the Inactive Director, holding all 100 of its shares.

The Buffalo Press attempted to contact current owner of Oakwood State Bank, Dorothy Cadenhead, multiple times over the course of the week to inquire about terms of the sale of the Oakwood State Bank, our nation’s smallest working bank, as well as the investigation of the man seeking to purchase it. Cadenhead declined to accept the phone calls because she was “with a customer.” She did not return those phone calls, as requested either.

2013-09-10 / Front Page

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Setting the Record Straight

Setting the Record Straight about the Purchaser of The Oakwood Bank I understand that the Oakwood and Buffalo communities may be concerned regarding what has been described as “troubling questions” about the purchaser of The Oakwood Bank. I am the General Counsel for that purchaser, and I would like to introduce him to the Oakwood and Buffalo communities and tell you the facts about an unfortunate anonymous allegation that proved to be unfounded. As reported in the press, the purchaser’s name is Mr. Jorge Rodrigo Mario Rangel de Alba Brunel. For convenience, I will refer to him as Mr. Rangel. While Mr. Rangel is a citizen of Mexico, he has long-standing ties to Texas and maintains a residence and offices in Houston. His company — Grupo RAL — is engaged in automotive, financial, hospitality, health, and other sectors of business throughout Mexico. We are comfortable that Mr. Rangel and his businesses have earned a good reputation for both honesty and fair dealing. Mr. Rangel would welcome any examination of what we do. Mr. Rangel is also a principal owner and the Chairman of CiBanco, which has operated as a full service bank in Mexico since 2008. Like all other banks in Mexico and banks in the United States, CiBanco operates under governmental regulatory scrutiny. In October, 2012, the office of the Attorney General of Mexico received an anonymous telephone call from an informant who said he had “overheard” members of the Board of Directors of CiBanco talk about “people” who made money from illegal activities in the United States. That anonymous informant did not identify any specific person, and certainly there was no allegation of any kind made specifically against Mr. Rangel. But, as an owner and the Chairman of the Board of the bank, he did receive some attention. The Attorney General’s Office fully investigated the accusation as it is required to do. The determination of the Attorney General’s Office was that there was no evidence whatsoever to support the accusation. Simply stated, the accusation was determined to be baseless and without merit by the office of the Attorney General of Mexico. So, the file on that matter was closed. I would also note that an independent private investigation report completed this year came to exactly the same conclusion. As you may know, any person who proposes to acquire control of a bank in the United States, such as The Oakwood Bank, is fully reviewed as an important part of the approval process by state and federal authorities, including the Texas Department of Banking and the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation. This review will also include an independent investigation of the person and his or her background by the United States’ Federal Bureau of Investigation. In this manner, bank customers and the community a bank serves have assurance regarding the character of bank owners. Mr. Rangel welcomes that scrutiny and review. It is not our plan or intent to take any action that would undermine or harm in any way The Oakwood Bank. In his applications to the regulatory authorities to buy The Oakwood Bank, Mr. Rangel has agreed to add additional capital to the bank, increasing the bank’s current capital by three-four times and to continue to try to find ways that it can better serve the area. Mr. Rangel is experienced in the banking business and knows that what is best for a bank and the area it serves is also best for bank owners. So, he will want The Oakwood Bank to be a strong full service bank that supports and serves Oakwood, Buffalo, and the surrounding community and will work hard to achieve those goals. - Roberto Pérez Estrada

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