MyMontrose: Charles Norris at Tradition Bank

By | October 6, 2012

We’ve been sitting down with Montrosians talking fav eats, events, shops and what Montrose means to them. This time we sat down with Charles Norris, President at Tradition Bank at 5020 Montrose.

Charles Norris of Tradition Bank shares with MyMontroseTradition Bank established as First National Bank of Bellaire in 1963. It has been locally owned for almost 50 years – next year they’re celebrating their 50th anniversary. In 2003, they merged their six independent banks together and rebranded as Tradition Bank. Charles Norris has been with Tradition 30 years – a Director for 29 of those. He opened the Montrose branch on January 1, 2007. They have significant interest and investment in community. “We saw this as the best opportunity for community banking. There wasn’t a true community bank in Montrose,” Norris adds on their investment in Montrose. The Montrose branch is housed in the old Plaza hotel built in 1924.  Tradition Bank Montrose invests a percent of their profits back directly to the this community by sponsoring events and organizations. And they actively look for new opportunities. The bank’s profitability is correlated directly to the community. They don’t send profits to North Carolina, San Francisico, Atlanta, etc. They are a true community bank with a long term stake in our neighborhood.

I sat down with Mr. Norris at Tradition Bank to get his take on Montrose.

He began by explaining, “Montrose exemplifies ‘neighborhood’. Geographically, it’s a small area with a lot of civic organizations but it has a lot of jewels. Every block has something unique and interesting. It’s recognized as a destination. It was just recognized by Forbes as one of the hippest neighborhoods in the country. You have fine arts, a university, over 30 chef owned restaurants, sports venues, museums … you get the idea.”

Montrose District sits down with business owners

Speaking of arts, you just had a great art exhibit, Print Matters at the bank in June. What is or has been your favorite exhibit in Montrose?

Until we opened this branch, I really didn’t have an appreciation of art. Not like I do now. Being across the street from the Glassell and down the street from the Museum of Fine Arts. I’m surrounded by it all. I really like it. My favorite is the the French Impressionists exhibit the MFAH had last year. Manet and Monet – they were trying to change the status quo in the 1890s and that really exemplifies Montrose – people are different; change happens – and people here express that and that is exciting. There is a cultural acceptance of change.

Charles Norris of Tradition Bank and Claude Wynn of Montrose DistrictThere have been a lot of changes and developments in Montrose recently. What do you see on the horizon and, in your opinion, what needs to happens to get there.

There are numerous civic organization that all have specific interests in improvement to their neighborhoods. These have come together under the Montrose Management District [MMD], which was created last year in legislative session. That is the vehicle to change infrastructure in the neighborhoods. Montrose Management District has taxing authority on commercial business and most of the civic organizations have to do with residential concerns. Dialogue between these two entities is very important but the MMD is the vehicle that will embrace change and have the power to make the change.

Favorite place to spend money in Montrose?

The chef owned restaurants.

Favorite meal?

Village Salad at Niko Niko’s

Perfect Saturday?

Breakfast on the patio at La Mexicana, Hermann Park zoo and antique shopping on lower Westheimer.

Favorite event?

Museum District Business Alliance Award Luncheon every December – they recognize the business and individuals who have made an impact in the community the last year. It’s a must attend for anyone in Montrose. It keeps me a abreast of who is participating in the changes in Montrose.  Tradition Bank won in 2009.

Unsung business?

Frankie Mandola’s catering –he purchased the building at 515 West Alabama and he’s been there for a year [the co-owner of Damian’s]. I’ve used him to cater everything.


We’re sitting down with Montrose residents, business owners and personalities to talk favorite meals, shopping, streets and what Montrose means to them. Have a place to share? Leave us a message in the comments! Want to pick someone’s brain? Tell us who in the comments.

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The Montrose Management District
board workshop meeting scheduled for April 3
has been postponed indefinitely.