Daniel Galindo immigrated from Mexico to Texas when he was nine years old. As he grew up and began carving a path for himself in the financial industry, he struggled to find mentorship and support from professionals with a background similar to his.
“I developed a network of mentors during my early education, but once I went to college, it was hard to find people from my culture or people who had a vested interest in and vision for my career goals,” he shares. “I had to rely on mentors from my past—my high school teachers and others in my hometown.”
After years of professional networking and career development, Galindo has developed a group of mentors and peers who continue to provide guidance. At Woodforest National Bank, he found a group of executive leaders and mentors who have helped shape and guide him into his current senior role. Because of his experiences, Galindo is very focused on activating mentorship and developing mentorship networks—as well as entrepreneurship, access to capital, affordable housing, financial inclusion, and ensuring communities have the resources they need to thrive.
Connecting Wall Street to Main Street
Galindo worked as a bank teller while attending college and quickly progressed into roles as a personal banker, mortgage lender, and international mortgage lender. In 2007, when the financial markets crashed, Galindo was doing multimillion-dollar lending for a local bank in San Antonio.
“We had several wealthy Mexican nationals coming into Texas at that time who were buying second homes,” he recalls. “It was easier for me to do a mortgage loan at that time for a foreign national than it was to help someone trying to finance their first home for $70,000.”
It was then Galindo started to develop a passion for affordable housing policy. He decided to work for a community development financial institution (CDFI) dedicated to helping first-time owners achieve home ownership by providing them with education, helping with the down payment, and often by providing the first lien mortgage.
But Galindo wanted to do even more. He wanted to learn more about policy and issues impacting communities, which led him to a national position with the National Council of La Raza (now known as UnidosUS). This position gave him an in-depth understanding of the systemic issues facing Hispanic Americans and other low- and moderate-income households.
“This position enabled me to work with more than one hundred community development organizations and help them in their strategic efforts to be responsive to the needs of their communities,” Galindo says. “I really wanted to be ingrained in the community and help those who were less fortunate by implementing forward-thinking strategies and creating opportunities. I was very proud of the work I did, and it was a solid foundation for the work I now do at Woodforest.”
“I’ve always been very passionate about serving communities, understanding their needs, and helping the people who need it the most.”
Today, as SVP and director of community development and strategy for Woodforest National Bank, Galindo continues in his mission.
“[Woodforest] was looking to increase its community reinvestment involvement,” says Galindo, a long-time San Antonio resident. “I was hired as the local community development manager for the San Antonio market and moved quickly to a national director role to help create and oversee award-winning initiatives to help the bank achieve its goals.
“I’ve always been very passionate about serving communities, understanding their needs, and helping the people who need it the most,” the SVP adds. “My goal is to work to create a bridge between Wall Street and Main Street, creating private-public partnerships that yield financial returns while advancing solutions and creating opportunities for communities.”
In his current role, one of Galindo’s duties is to oversee the company’s lending and investment portfolios for community and economic development. A large part of this investment pool is geared toward ensuring small businesses have access to capital as well as trusted guidance from CDFIs, minority deposit institutions (MDIs), small business investment companies (SBICs), private equity funds, and microlending funds.
“Through these vehicles, Woodforest is able to invest capital so these institutions can in turn invest in small- and middle-market businesses and start-ups,” Galindo remarks, “which are often minority- and woman-owned firms that oftentimes do not qualify for traditional bank financing or are looking to scale their business.”
As SVP and director, Galindo has helped the bank achieve an outstanding Community Reinvestment Act rating—the highest rating given to financial institutions by their regulator. Galindo attributes this success to his executive mentor, to having a devoted and coachable team of bankers with a shared passion for community, and ultimately to the overall culture of the bank, which focuses on compassion and doing the right thing for its communities.
Mentorship Galvanizes Community
But as Galindo knows, access to capital is not the only issue facing communities and small businesses. That is exactly why Woodforest National Bank established initiatives like the Woodforest Foundry, recipient of the Consumer Bankers Association’s 2019 Joe Belew Award. The Woodforest Foundry is facilitated by entrepreneurs, for entrepreneurs: it allows entrepreneurs to act as mentors and activate local entrepreneurial ecosystems, which revitalizes underserved communities and helps grow businesses.
Through the Woodforest Foundry, entrepreneurs find a community of mentors and receive trusted guidance from their peers, Woodforest bankers, and community partners. Galindo was responsible for the development and implementation of the first Woodforest Foundry prototype in San Antonio. Given its success, the program is now in the expansion stage, and the bank is implementing Woodforest Foundry across its seventeen-state footprint.
As a prominent member in his community, Galindo also feels a personal responsibility to help and inspire others. He travels to high schools in his old school district—one of the most impoverished in San Antonio—and talks about his past, how he relied on teachers for guidance, and how every barrier he faced just added to his determination to succeed.
“It’s really important for me to share my personal story of resilience with students who may also be struggling with finding a mentor to guide them,” Galindo says. “It has been really impactful to share my experiences and be a mentor for others.”
Within Woodforest, Galindo also strives to provide guidance and mentorship for other Hispanic American bankers looking to advance their careers. “I know there’s an opportunity for banks to capture the Hispanic American trillion-dollar market in the coming years,” says Galindo, who was recently recognized as one of the San Antonio Business Journal’s 40 Under 40, “but in order to do that, we have to find and develop bankers and individuals who can relate to our culture and community.”
A proud husband and father to three daughters, Galindo is currently pursuing an executive MBA in banking and financial institutions as part of his ongoing development at Woodforest.
SBCC appreciates the partnership of Woodforest and Daniel Gallindo as we serve more small and lower-middle market entrepreneurs with capital and strategic resources. Daniel is a thought leader in building financial architecture for minority communities, and we are proud to work with him to pursue societal transformation through entrepreneurial success.