Tom Depping – Chairman and Chief Executive Officer, Main Street National Bank.
Tom Depping was born in 1958 and grew up in the central Michigan town of Frankenmuth. He graduated cum laude from Eastern Michigan University in 1980 and immediately joined the accounting firm of KPMG International as a staff accountant.
After moving to Texas in the summer of 1981 Mr. Depping became a Certified Public Accountant and joined First City Bank in Houston as its Lease Accounting Officer. Mr. Depping was to stay with First City, subsequently acquired by Sun America (now part of American International Group), for the next 13 years in a variety of positions of increasing responsibility, all involved in the organization’s equipment leasing and finance business. Mr. Depping became, successively, First City/SunAmerica Leasing’s Comptroller, its Vice President of Sales, Senior Vice President of Sales and was finally appointed President of SunAmerica Financial Services, serving in that position from 1991 and 1994. Under Mr. Depping’s leadership, SunAmerica Financial Services’s annual pre-tax profit contribution rose from $1 million to over $13 million.
Mr. Depping saw the growth potential of the small ticket equipment finance business with its unique ability to meet the financing needs of small and medium sized businesses and so in 1994, Mr. Depping formed First Sierra Financial, Inc., with an original capitalization of only $1 million. As Chief Executive Officer of First Sierra, Mr. Depping led First Sierra through a period of explosive growth, creating in 6 years a company universally acknowledged as one of the dominant national providers of small business financing. First Sierra grew at over 100% per annum while creating a transaction portfolio with a credit quality well above industry standard. Its growth was not accidental. First Sierra created a “best in industry” technology platform and pioneered then-innovative strategies for targeting the small business market such as developing one of the most sophisticated computer based credit scoring models and executing a variety of internet based marketing programs. First Sierra went public in 1997 and by 2000 had acquired over 25 companies and had grown to be an organization of over 500 employees nationwide, earning Mr. Depping the 1998 of the City of Houston Entrepreneur of the Year award sponsored by Ernst & Young and USA Today.
First Sierra’s originations went from zero in 1994 to over a billion dollars in 2000 and by that date First Sierra had completed over $2 billion of securitized debt financings and had committed bank lines of over $1 billion. Despite these achievements, Tom concluded that in order for First Sierra to continue its successful growth it had to become part of a larger organization with greater financial resources and in March of 2001 First Sierra was sold to American Express, forming one of the most important components of American Express’s Small Business Services unit. The original First Sierra investors made more than 3,000% on their investment!
After the sale to American Express, Tom used his temporary retirement from the finance business to pursue a business opportunity in Breckinridge, Colorado by starting Ski Village, now one of that town’s top property management firms. In addition, he founded Vision Sports with his Partner Hal Pastner, with headquarters in Kingwood, Texas and Las Vegas. Vision Sports is the largest producer of high school basketball tournaments in the country.
In November, 2004 Tom returned to the small ticket equipment finance business by leading another investor group in the purchase of a suburban Houston-area bank, Main Street Bank in Kingwood, Texas. After gathering around him many members of his team from First Sierra, Tom is well on his way to building another financial services powerhouse but this time with the stable funding environment a bank provides.
On a personal note, Tom married the former Kim Simonds in 1978. They have 4 children, ages 22, 20, 18 and 8.
Please send all correspondence to:
Main Street Bank
P.O. Box 5799
Kingwood, TX 77325