Full Interstate Banking Law Needed, Says Harris

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Unlimited interstate banking is needed in Oklahoma to attract capital, Robert Harris, executive vice president of the Okla homa Banker's Association, told the Joint Committee to Study Interstate Banking Monday.

"We need the out-of-state capital," he said. "The only way we're going to get that is through unlimited interstate banking."

Oklahoma's interstate banking law is a "non-event" that failed to attract capital needed by state banks, said Robert Empie, Oklahoma banking commissioner, who also spoke at the committee meeting.

"It's imperative we do something to revitalize our banks," Empie told a joint legislative committee studying the Oklahoma interstate banking law, which he said has "done nothing to this point."

"The primary need is to inject capital," he said.

Oklahoma's interstate banking law contains protectionist clauses contrary to the nationwide trend toward unlimited interstate banking and do not give out-of-state banks a "fair shake," Empie said.

Specifically, the law allows instate bidders for a failed state bank to match higher bids by out-of-state banks.

The law was passed hurriedly without public hearings during the last legislative session under concern a major state bank might fail without another Oklahoma bank willing to buy it. The legislativecommittee, headed by Sen. Stratton Taylor, D-Claremore, is studying whether to leave it as it is, modify it, change it drastically or completely abolish the law.

Sections of the law allowing out-of-state banks to purchase only failed or failing Oklahoma banks expire July 1, 1987.

The law has not been used in any of the bank failures subsequent to its passage, Empie said, and in fact has not enticed bids from out-of-state banks.

More than 100 bank holding companies with assets in excess of $250 million have been invited to the bidding sessions for the last three or four failed Oklahoma banks, Empie said, but none have submitted a bid. …