Like many Oklahoma businesses whose employees simply couldn't get to the office, banks across the state closed Tuesday in the wake of the paralyzing snowstorm.
Dudley Gilbert, general counsel for the state Banking Department, said banks from Chickasha to Tulsa notified the agency that they wouldn't open because of the weather. State Banking Commissioner Mick Thompson on Monday sent a notice to all state-chartered banks that officers could shut down if they judged the weather conditions to be an emergency.
“They just cannot get employees in to open the banks,” Gilbert said.
SpiritBank closed all 12 branches after some employees began reporting early Tuesday that they couldn't get their vehicles out of their driveways, President Ted Cundiff, of Tulsa, said.
Cundiff said it was the first time in his 11 years with the company that branches have closed all day due to weather.
Gilbert said Tuesday also was the first time he could remember widespread, daylong bank closures due to inclement weather. Last year's heavy snowstorm came later in the day, and caused some banks to close — but only for part of the day.
Particularly hard-hit Tuesday, Gilbert said, were many of the state's small, single-branch banks.
However, electronic banking allows many consumer and commercial customers to access needed banking services, Gilbert said.
SpiritBank kept operating crews at work to ensure that customers could access electronic banking alternatives, Cundiff said.
BancFirst, the largest state-chartered bank, closed branches in three of the 50 cities and towns where it operates offices, said Jay Hannah, executive vice president of financial services. BancFirst shut down some or all of its branches in Jenks, Glenpool and Sand Springs, Hannah said.
“We may get a gold star for attendance,” he said. “For the most part, we were up and running.”
We may get a gold star for attendance. For the most part, we were up and running.â€