We finish the year of 1997 with a lot of changes in the landscape of Oklahoma banking. Changes in ownership of major banks in our state still generate headline news as we approach year-end.
Management changes in all of the major Oklahoma City banks have occurred in the fourth quarter of `97, and generate discussion in corporate offices about possible changes in direction for some of these institutions. Speculation about other changes in management teams at many of these institutions will stimulate more conversation about "who your banker will be" in `98.
Modernization of the Banking Code in Oklahoma this year has streamlined some of the processes and procedures to make banking opportunities more fluid in `98. The economy of Oklahoma also finishes strongly in `97, leaving a starting platform for good growth. For 1998, public reaction to the management changes in Oklahoma banking bears watching. Many experts anticipate considerable movement of customer relationships from one bank to another. Many of the acquisition premiums paid require significant cost reductions from consolidations and downsizing to repay shareholders. Public reaction to cost saving measures that reduce service quality and diminish personal relationship banking will probably manifest itself in movement to more localized institutions with "hands-on-banking." The larger institutions will bring more technology and capital access to the business of Oklahoma. Many of the larger credit customers in Oklahoma have had to look out of state to find banks large enough to lead in syndicating their credits. In 1998, we should begin to see some of our larger credits now being led by syndications established by these banks in state. Advanced technology in the banking industry will bring a proliferation of electronic banking services to Oklahomans. The consumer customer as well as the corporate treasurers in Oklahoma will all benefit from this technology. Corporations and consumers like direct deposits, electronic transfers and ATM usage. Internet utilization by Oklahoma banks to service their customers will grow exponentially in 1998. Home banking is a reality today and many more Oklahomans will avail themselves of the opportunity in `98. More acquisitions, mergers and consolidations will occur in `98. With only two major metropolitan communities in Oklahoma, it is doubtful that more than one or two more major national or super regional banks will come to Oklahoma. …