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Oklahoma Inc.: Banking companies take different tracks during the year

Winners and losers among the three publicly banking companies in Oklahoma.
by Don Mecoy Published: November 11, 2012

Oklahoma has three publicly traded bank companies, each of which operates one of the largest banks in the state.

This year, the largest of those companies, BOK Financial Corp., was the highest-ranking banking firm, followed by BancFirst Corp. and Southwest Bancorp, parent of Stillwater National Bank.

BOK Financial, parent of Bank of Oklahoma, topped the rankings in revenue growth and share price growth among banking companies. It ranked second in total return, which includes stock and dividends.

Chief Financial Officer Steven Nell said BOK Financial has been booking record profits.

“We've posted some record quarters in terms of net income in the past year,” Nell said. “We're well on our way this year to probably the best year we've had in terms of total net income.”

Loan growth, which picked up strongly in the last six months of 2011, was a strong contributor to the firm's robust bottom line, Nell said. That growth has continued in 2012.

The loan growth reflects the improving economy in the region in which BOK Financial operates, Nell said. In addition to Bank of Oklahoma, BOK operates Bank of Albuquerque, Bank of Arizona, Bank of Arkansas, Bank of Kansas City, Bank of Texas, and Colorado State Bank and Trust.

The energy sector, particularly in Oklahoma, Texas and Colorado, has boosted loan production, Nell said. Also, mortgage business has been “exceptional,” Nell said, driven by low interest rates that have prompted more homeowners to refinance. BOK also has hired new mortgage originators to boost business, he said.

Credit costs also have decreased, Nell said.

“I think you're going to see us continue to experience good results for the foreseeable future,” he said.

BancFirst, parent company of Oklahoma's largest state-chartered bank, topped the total return rankings while finishing second to BOK in growth of revenue and earnings.

BancFirst has been the busiest bank in the state in regards to growing through acquisitions, with the addition of a Claremore bank as its most recent addition. Those purchases have helped swell the bank's deposits and assets.

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by Don Mecoy
Business Editor
Business Editor Don Mecoy has covered business news for more than a decade after earlier working on The Oklahoman's city, state and metro news desks, including a stint as city editor. He has won state and regional journalism awards for business,...
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