New Banking Law Goes Well for College Students

Article excerpt

A new banking law is making the grade with some Oklahoma college students who have been able to make deposits and open new bank accounts without leaving campus.

Liberty Bancorp Inc. was the major proponent of the law change which allows banks to establish a limited kind of branch on college campuses for up to three days a year.

"It has gone extremely well," said Barney Lehmbeck, senior vice president of business development and marketing. "We have opened new accounts on campus before, but we couldn't accept deposits. Everything had to be mailed in. This makes it a lot more convenient for the students."

State Rep. John Bryant, R-Tulsa, one of the law's authors, viewed the measure as one that benefits customers by allowing those banks that want to reach the college market to provide an extra service.

"It was a service they wanted to provide for the customer. Also it would create competition. The bank would have to have the permission of the educational institution."

The law was passed easily despite disagreement over other branching proposals because it was not seen as a threat. As Bryant put it: "Not everybody wants college students' checking accounts."

The temporary off-site deposit-taking authority was given to "any main bank, branch or savings association located in a county where an institution of higher education is located." The law requires that the temporary "branches" be set up at an "institution-sponsored event," such as orientation, but only if the college gives its blessing. It became effective Aug. 1, just in time for banks to meet the current influx of students.

No regulatory approvals are needed to operate the facilities since they are not technically branches, but Paul Foster, general counsel for the Oklahoma Banking Department, had some advice for banks that want to take advantage of the new law. He urged them to notify three entities of their intentions: the bank's bonding company, primary federal regulator and the state banking department.

Liberty has taken advantage of the new ability in most of the college towns in which it operates. Its subsidiary banks have opened accounts and accepted deposits at the University of Oklahoma in Norman, University of Central Oklahoma in Edmond and in Tulsa at Oral Roberts University and the University of Tulsa.

Several other banks also were visible on campuses because of the new law. OU and Oklahoma State University were big draws for the service with several banks at each. BancFirst, which has offices in towns not serviced by some of the other large banks, also took in deposits at Northeastern State University in Tahlequah and Oklahoma Baptist University and St. Gregory's College, both in Shawnee. . . First National Bank of Bethany, in a management realignment, has appointed Chris H. Pierce chief executive officer and Peter G. Pierce III executive vice president and chief administrative officer.

In a separate action, Peter Pierce III also was named president of the bank's holding company, Devonshire Investment Co.

Remaining as chairman of both the bank and its holding company is Peter G. Pierce, the founder and principal shareholder. He had been chief executive officer. Chris Pierce and Peter Pierce are his sons.

Chris Pierce, formerly vice chairman and marketing officer, joined the bank in 1974 and has been involved in all aspects of operations and lending. He is a graduate of the Southwestern Graduate School of Banking at Southern Methodist University and serves on the Small Business Task Force of the Oklahoma City Chamber of Commerce.

Peter Pierce III, the bank's general counsel and former senior vice president, has been on the bank's board since 1976. He became full-time general counsel in 1990 after 15 years of representing financial institutions in private practice. …