Being a Community Bank means more than just specializing in deposits and loans. Pioneer Bank understands our responsibility extends to our neighborhoods, cities and towns, state and nation.

At Pioneer Bank, we know that our success is dependent on the success of our communities. We continue to evaluate and improve to provide local businesses and communities with products that will help them grow. In 2017 we implemented a new philanthropic program, Team Pioneer, which supports local non-profit organizations that work to provide services in our community.

We have a history of strong partnerships with businesses and organizations that support the growth and well-being of our communities since 1901. We are excited to continue our work by offering products and services that not only meet our customer needs but also create a meaningful impact in our communities.

Pioneer Bank opened its doors on February 18, 1901 as the Roswell Building & Loan Association in Roswell, New Mexico, to meet the need for capital to finance home construction. Over the past century, Pioneer Bank has grown into southern New Mexico’s number one community-based institution for business and personal banking.

The original meeting of the stockholders was held on December 27, 1900. A committee of nine was chosen to prepare the charter and by-laws, which were filed with the Secretary of the Territory of New Mexico and approved by the stockholders on April 5, 1901.

The first President on the Board of Directors was D.S. Rosenwald. The first Directors were W.T. Jones (Vice-President), J.M. Hervey (Secretary), L.K. McGaffey (Treasurer), Nathan Jaffa, George Bixby, L.W. Martin, E.A. Cahoon, E.P. Rasumssen, Charles W. Haynes and W.T. Jones. Our Presidents throughout the early years also included Nathan Jaffa, 1902-1903 and 1906-1907; C.C. Tannehill, 1903-1906; E.A. Cahoon, 1907-1935; and Gov. J.F. Hinkle, 1935-1951.

The Association’s capital goal had originally been set at $100,000; however, by September 1, 1901, the founders had raised $200,000. During the 20th century, steady progress and success allowed the bank to add branches throughout southern New Mexico and establish Pioneer Mortgage Company in west Texas.

Through joint efforts of many, the Association weathered the depression years and established the Association as a sound financial institution serving Roswell and the Pecos Valley. The Association became a member of the Federal Home Loan Bank system on February 1, 1933; and its accounts were insured by the FLSIC on September 15, 1936.

By the early 1950’s, the Association reached assets of over $12,500,000. In May of 1967, the name of Roswell Building & Loan Association was changed to “Roswell Savings & Loan Association.” Equitable Building & Loan Association was merged with the Association in May, 1974. They again changed their name in April of 1975 to Pioneer Savings and Trust in an effort to reflect the broader scope of activities in which we were engaged.

In July, 1976, Pioneer converted from a mutual association to a stock association, issuing common stock. In 1994, we underwent another name change to Pioneer Savings Bank. Pioneer’s assets soared to $75,062,980 at the close of 1977.

On April 18, 2000, a name change to Pioneer Bank was adopted in order to reflect the full range of banking services offered to Pioneer’s communities. By the end of 2001, the assets held by the bank were $372,901,648. By 2016 assets were $737,315,000.

Pioneer Bank continues to grow and is proud of their service to customers since 1901. They continue to expand their services with new technology to keep up with current demands.

Meet Our Leadership Team

Christopher G. Palmer
Christopher G. PalmerPresident/Chief Executive Officer
Christopher G. Palmer, CPA joined Pioneer Bank in November 2004 as Chief Financial Officer where he served from 2004-2017. Mr. Palmer was named President and Chief Operating Officer in April 2017.

Christopher came to Pioneer after working for The Citizens Bank in Farmington, New Mexico for 8 years, leaving as Vice President and Investment Officer. He is a graduate of the David Eccles School of Business at the University of Utah where he earned a BA in Finance with a Minor in Japanese. Christopher attended the Graduate School of Banking at the University of Wisconsin-Madison and has completed program I and II of the ABA Graduate School of Bank Investments and Financial Management. While at Citizens Bank, Christopher became a Certified Public Accountant.

Christopher is actively involved in the community currently serving as a Director for the Independent Community Bankers Association of New Mexico, the Treasurer of the Roswell Chaves County Economic Development Corporation, and Vice President of the Southeastern New Mexico Society of CPAs, and previously served as President of the United Way of Chaves County and Vice President of the United Way Foundation.
Christopher is a graduate of the Leadership Roswell Class of 2008 and the Leadership New Mexico Class of 2015. On October 16, 2017, The Independent Community Bankers of America announced that Christopher was the Western region winner of the association’s 2017 Community Banker of the Year award.

Nicole R. Austin
Nicole R. AustinExecutive Vice President/Chief Lending Officer
Nicole Austin came to Pioneer in 2008 from Washington Federal where she served as Compliance Officer which also included roles as the CRA Officer and Security Officer. Mrs. Austin began her banking career as Executive Assistant to the CEO/President at First Federal Bank in 2000. First Federal was acquired by Washington Federal in 2007. During her time at First Federal she also managed the loan servicing department. She joined Pioneer as a Vice President and commercial lender. Mrs. Austin was mentored and trained by Britt Donaldson. Mrs. Austin was named Chief Lending Officer when Mr. Donaldson retired in 2016.
Mrs. Austin obtained a bachelor’s in education with a major in English and a minor in Business Administration from Lubbock Christian University. She also has a master’s in Education Administration from West Texas A & M University. She completed banking school at the Anderson School of Business with University of New Mexico as well as Regulatory Compliance School at American Community Bankers.
Mrs. Austin serves on the board of Leadership New Mexico, the United Way, and The First Tee of Southeastern New Mexico. She has also served on the Roswell Independent School District School Board as well as the Board for Habitat for Humanity. She is an active member of Team Pioneer volunteer group, Chaves County Republican Women, and Country Club Road Church of Christ.
Aaron Emmert
Aaron EmmertExecutive Vice President/Chief Financial Officer
Aaron Emmert is a seasoned banker with experience in multiple disciplines of the banking industry and has served in various roles throughout his career including Controller, Market President, and Senior Commercial Loan Officer.
Mr. Emmert joined Pioneer Bank in September of 2017 as Chief Financial Officer.
Mr. Emmert has both a bachelor’s and master’s degree in Business Administration and is a Certified Public Accountant.

Aaron is the Board Chair for the Boys and Girls Club of Chaves and Lincoln Counties, as well as the Board Chair for the New Mexico Area Council of the Boys and Girls Club.

Kiel Hoffman
Kiel HoffmanExecutive Vice President/Market President
Kiel Hoffman joined Pioneer Bank in July 2004 as the Las Cruces Market President. Prior to that time Kiel started his career in Banking in 1985 as a Trust Audit assistant. By 1989 Kiel started his commercial banking career in Albuquerque and remained there in 1998 when he transferred to Las Cruces to help oversee a community banks transition to a regional/national bank. He worked for Wells Fargo as a corporate banker until moving to Pioneer Bank.
In 1985 Kiel received his associate degree from New Mexico Military Institute and was commissioned in the Army. In 1988 Kiel received his bachelor’s degree in accounting, from the University of New Mexico. Kiel completed banking school at the Anderson School of Business.
Kiel has served as the Chair of various Boards including the Las Cruces Chamber, Conquistadores, Mesilla Valley Economic Development, Mesilla Valley Hospice, Big Brothers Big Sisters. In addition, Kiel held treasurer roles with the Bridge of Southern NM and March of Dimes. He has also chaired various committees including Count Me In, Team WSMR, Junior Leadership, and Military Affairs. In 2008 Kiel was appointed to the New Mexico Military Base commission by then Governor Bill Richardson and served for various governors up until 2020.
Kiel is also a graduate of Leadership Las Cruces in 2003 and Leadership New Mexico in 2006.