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.
Southwest Bancorp had the most active year, selling off part of its troubled loan portfolio while writing down millions of dollars of problem assets in December. The company's stock rebounded after federal regulators released the bank from a formal operating agreement, and the business also resumed paying dividends and repaid $70 million it owed the U.S. Treasury from the Capital Purchase Program established after the 2008 financial crisis.
While the company's stock — and apparently its fortunes — have improved, the Oklahoma Inc. rankings place Southwest Bancorp well behind the other banking companies, and nearly all of the state's publicly traded firms. Southwest was dead last in earnings growth in the S&P Capital IQ ranking among all Oklahoma Inc. companies.
Most recently, the company hired Mark Funke away from Bank of Oklahoma to serve as its new chief executive officer. Funke said the bank, which reported a profit in its most recent quarter, is well positioned for future growth.
“There have been very many positive changes at this company in the last 12 months, with repayment of TARP money, starting the dividend process back up again and positioning ourselves from a credit quality standpoint so that the bank doesn't need to be focused entirely on fixing problems going into 2013,” Funke said.
Funke said analysts and shareholders generally have reacted positively to the changes.
“I'm positive about our earnings potential and revenue growth in 2013,” he said.