Outside of its strong stock market performance in 2012, Southwest Bancorp has had an active year as its board and management continue to clean up the bank's balance sheet. The company sold off a troubled loan portfolio in late 2011. In August, it paid off a $70 million Troubled Asset Relief Program loan from the U.S. Treasury taken out in the wake of the 2008 financial crisis.
Southwest Bancorp resumed paying dividends in the summer and named longtime Bank of Oklahoma executive Mark Funke its new president and CEO in September.
Joe Shockley, executive vice president and chief financial officer, said investors are taking note of the bank's performance.
“The management team and board have taken some bold but necessary steps to move the company forward,” Shockley said. “Anytime you announce those types of actions, including new management, there's a level of optimism.”
With some internal challenges out of the way, Shockley said the bank will refocus its marketing efforts in the coming year.
“Certain investors have seen those actions and seen the company is still well-capitalized,” he said. “Candidly, with the stock still trading at a discount to book value, some investors obviously feel that it could be a good entry point. We hope that's the case, and we hope to do our best to continue to improve the company throughout 2013.”
For 2013, Dollarhide said the U.S. stock market is poised for solid growth if domestic issues get worked out in Congress. That will be despite world events that have shaped markets in the last few years.
“Things like Europe will still exist, worries about a slowdown in China will still exist,” Dollarhide said. “Once we get past the ‘fiscal cliff,' there will be the debt ceiling and all year we'll be talking about the tax code. But if the snow clears, this could be a very good year if the economy grows faster than it did this past year. That could help commodity prices and demand for oil and gas, which will help our publicly traded state companies do better.
“Typically, the first year of an incumbent president's second term can be very good for the market. Short of anything surprising or shocking, it could be a very good year once we get through January and the first part of the year.”
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