Magazine article American Banker

BOK of Tulsa Is Seeking Lift from Tex. Fee Income

Magazine article American Banker

BOK of Tulsa Is Seeking Lift from Tex. Fee Income

Article excerpt

BOK Financial Corp. is opening branches and hiring in Texas to boost its fee income from that state.

Since 1997 the $20.8 billion-asset Tulsa company has made eight bank acquisitions in Texas, which now holds 25% of BOK's assets and is its biggest market after its home state.

Texas was the first state it entered outside Oklahoma, "and it probably represents our largest opportunity," Steven Nell, BOK's chief financial officer, said in an interview last week.

It plans to open up to 10 branches this year, and as many as four of them will be in Texas, where BOK operates under the Bank of Texas name.

BOK currently has 45 branches in Dallas, Fort Worth, and Houston, versus 15 in 2000. This year it also plans to open branches in Colorado, Arizona, Oklahoma, and Kansas, Mr. Nell said.

Texas now has more than a quarter of BOK's 172 branches, while Oklahoma has 81, or 47% of the total.

Over the last six months BOK has added 20 employees in Texas fee-generating businesses, including 15 in the mortgage business, and it could add another five people this year, Mr. Nell said.

"The opportunity to grow the fee revenue to total revenue [ratio] is probably greater in Texas than in other markets," he said.

Mr. Nell would not provide a target for its fee revenue in Texas or companywide, but he did say opportunities exist in wealth management, other asset management services, and electronic funds transfer.

Last year BOK's revenue from fees in Texas grew 17% from the previous year, to $4 million, and Mr. Nell said his company generates roughly 15% of its Texas revenue from fees, compared with 23% in Colorado or 25% in New Mexico.

In the first quarter BOK's total revenue from fees and commissions increased 24% from a year earlier, to $114 million, or 42% of all its revenue for the quarter.

Mr. Nell said that most of BOK's future expansion will be outside its home state. …

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