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Southwest Bancorp chief started as a teller in college

Wichita native Mark Funke has worked 34 years in the banking industry, including more than 28 years in Oklahoma.
by Paula Burkes Published: May 5, 2013

Having joined Southwest Bancorp Inc. just seven months ago, Mark Funke is settling into his new role as president and chief executive of the $2.2 billion publicly-traded holding company for Stillwater National Bank and Trust Co., and Bank of Kansas.

In mid-March, Funke and his leadership team rang the closing bell at the Nasdaq MarketSite in New York City in honor of the company's 20th anniversary as a public company (trading symbol: OKSB) on the Nasdaq exchange. Last month, Southwest Bancorp held its annual shareholders meeting in Stillwater, where leaders announced first-quarter earnings of 13 cents per share, on target with analysts' predictions. And Tuesday, Funke left for Boston to visit with investors and potential investors.

“Being the CEO of a strong growing Oklahoma public financial institution is something I've always wanted to do,” said Funke, who previously worked 28 years with Bank of Oklahoma. “It's quite an honor to take all the things I've learned over the years and help build a company with a great brand, Oklahoma roots dating back to 1894, and a world of opportunity before them.”

Funke said Southwest Bancorp is well-positioned for the future, “after our board two years ago made the important decision on the bulk sale of $300 million dollars worth of nonperforming assets.”

Moreover, community banks are agile enough to “still hold customers in front of process,” he said.

Southwest Bancorp has 23 locations across Oklahoma, Kansas and Texas, and employs 425.

Funke, 57, sat down with The Oklahoman on Monday to talk about his professional and personal life. This is an edited transcript:

Q: Tell us about your roots.

A: I grew up in Wichita. My dad was a dentist and my mom was a homemaker. I'm the youngest of four, with three sisters, who are four to 14 years older. From the time I was 6, I swam competitively and in high school, was an All-State athlete in the 200- and 400-meter freestyle. I was awarded college scholarships for swimming, but I didn't take them. By the time I graduated high school, I was burned out.

Q: Where did you go to college?

A: Kansas State University. My father wanted me to be a dentist, but dentistry never took with me. I had a hard time putting a Band-Aid on. I taught swimming lessons in college and originally thought I wanted to be a P.E. teacher and coach. But the summer following my freshman year, I had lunch with my Uncle Harry, my dad's first cousin who was a bank executive. He suggested I pursue a business degree and, while I was at school, work for a bank to see if I liked it.

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by Paula Burkes
A 1981 journalism graduate of Oklahoma State University, Paula Burkes has more than 30 years experience writing and editing award-winning material for newspapers and healthcare, educational and telecommunications institutions in Tulsa, Oklahoma...
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Mark W. Funke

Southwest Bancorp Inc. president and chief executive

• Birth date: Oct. 9, 1955.

• Family: Beverly (married 36 years; they were set up on a blind date to his Alpha Tau Omega fraternity party); children, Bill Funke, 30, of Norman, and Annie Funke, 27, of New York City.

• Housing addition: Oakdale Farms in Edmond.

• Education: Kansas State University, bachelor's in finance; University of Houston, graduate coursework in business administration; and Rutgers University, a graduate of The Stonier Graduate School of Banking.

• Community involvement: Greater Oklahoma City Chamber and the Oklahoma State Chamber, board member; Allied Arts Foundation, Lyric Theater of Oklahoma, the Oklahoma Health Center Foundation and the YMCA of Oklahoma City, current board member and past board chairmen for each; United Way of Central Oklahoma, board member and former campaign chairman; and the Oklahoma Medical Research Foundation, finance and audit committee.

• Pastimes: golfing, swimming, gourmet cooking and travel. He, Beverly and a couple of friends are bound for France this month.


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