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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
/articleid/3806441/1/pictures/2043897">Photo - Mark Funke, CEO of Southwest Bancorp, discusses his career. Photo by James Beckel, The Oklahoman <strong></strong>
Mark Funke, CEO of Southwest Bancorp, discusses his career. Photo by James Beckel, The Oklahoman

Q: What was your first job in banking?

A: I started that next school year, as a teller at a bank in Manhattan, Kan., where I worked throughout college. I took classes in the mornings and worked every weekday afternoon and on some Saturdays. I liked interacting with the people who came in, and feeling like I was doing something responsible. I learned to be responsive and think on my feet, to quickly serve the customers at the front of the line, who many times had two to three people behind them.

Q: And after graduation?

A: My wife Beverly and I skipped graduation and instead got married that day. We didn't go on a honeymoon but moved to Houston, where one week later we both started jobs. I was in a training program with a large bank there, Republic Bank. Houston is a great town. We lived there six years, and had our first child there. But both of us wanted to move back closer to our roots. Beverly grew up in northwest Kansas in Norton, where my in-laws, both 87, still live. My parents passed away in 1997.

Q: What are the highlights of your career with Bank of Oklahoma?

A: I joined BOK (Financial) in Tulsa in 1984 to manage their lending group in northeast Oklahoma and parts of Missouri and Arkansas. In October 1986, I moved to Oklahoma City following BOK's purchase of Fidelity Bank, where I managed commercial banking. In the six years that followed, which were difficult times for the banking industry in Oklahoma, I learned a lot, and was able to work with George Kaiser, a well-known financier nationwide. In my 28 years with BOK, the bank grew from $1 billion to $28 billion and expanded to eight states. When I left, I was market CEO in Oklahoma City and managed the bank's Arkansas operations and government relations.

Q: Obviously, Stillwater National Bank has close ties to Oklahoma State University. Do you have any ties to OSU?

A: No, both of my kids graduated from OU. But I'm great friends with Burns Hargis (OSU's president). Q: What's it like having a last name that's pronounced “funky?”

A: Of course, I was teased as a kid, but I've learned to like it. It's unique. The logo on my golf balls is Funke Monkey. My daughter, Annie Funke — a New York actress who recently was nominated with Jake Gyllenhaal as best off-Broadway actors for a play they did together — loves the name because it's memorable. Meanwhile, my daughter-in-law's maiden name was Gross, so she was excited to marry into the name Funke.

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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