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Oklahoma banks' profits grow despite tighter interest margins

Oklahoma's banking industry remains strong and profitable, but conditions remain less than ideal for smaller community banks.
by Don Mecoy Published: August 30, 2012

Oklahoma banks remain predominantly profitable, although tighter interest margins are squeezing some smaller banks, the head of the Oklahoma Bankers Association said Wednesday.

Roger Beverage said quarterly figures issued this week by the Federal Deposit Insurance Corp. reveal several encouraging trends among Oklahoma banks.

“Net income is going up, capital is trending up, loans are trending up, albeit slightly,” Beverage said. “That's good news for Oklahoma, generally, in terms of the strength of banks.”

Profits at Oklahoma's 238 FDIC-insured institutions totaled $340 million in the quarter, more than 20 percent higher than those of the same period last year.

About seven of 10 Oklahoma banks registered earnings gains in the quarter that ended June 30, the FDIC reported. More than 96 percent of Oklahoma banks were profitable in the quarter. State banks also boosted their return on assets.

Oklahoma banks have been able to reduce the amount of capital set aside to deal with troubled assets and potentially bad loans.

However, net interest margin — the difference between the rates banks pay on deposits and earn on loans — slipped to 3.7 percent, down slightly from the same period last year and two years ago.

“About 80 percent of small banks' profit roughly comes from that net interest margin, and that trend is going the wrong way for banks,” Beverage said. “What that means is that it will be continually more difficult for banks to generate revenues like they have in the past.”

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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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