The most recent annual shareholder meetings with one of Oklahoma’s largest banks and one of the world’s largest banks provided a stark contrast in the impact of the global financial meltdown on the institutions.
In Tulsa, BOK Financial Corp.’s meeting was lightly attended, and Chairman George Kaiser’s request for questions was met with silence. "I hope this subdued meeting is not a reflection of the subdued economic environment,” said Kaiser, who owns more than 60 percent of the parent company’s stock. However, in the same week, about 1,500 angry Bank of America shareholders held the floor at length to harangue Chairman Ken Lewis about their withering investments. BOK Financial was the largest company ranked in the top 10 in this year’s Oklahoma Inc. A balanced performance pushed the company among the leaders. Slight growth in earnings per share helped offset a dip in annual shareholder return and a tiny slip — 1.5 percent — in year over year revenue. BOK Financial, parent of Bank of Oklahoma and banks in seven other states in the region, was the largest commercial U.S. bank to decline federal TARP funds. Gary Simpson, a finance professor at Oklahoma State University, said rejecting government assistance was a wise move. "To me, it’s another way to say we’re in better shape,” said Simpson, Oklahoma Bankers Association chair of commercial bank management at OSU’s Spears School of Business.