Newspaper article THE JOURNAL RECORD

Oklahoma's BOK Financial Targets Insurance Sector

Newspaper article THE JOURNAL RECORD

Oklahoma's BOK Financial Targets Insurance Sector

Article excerpt

With revenue up some 50 percent this year, and Wall Street's meltdown making consumer financial stability issues even more critical, BOK Financial foresees even stronger growth going forward from its infant insurance unit.

"I think there's a great deal of upside potential," said J. Robert Cole, a vice president and regional manager with BOSC Inc., a subsidiary of Tulsa-based BOKF. "There are so many opportunities just under our nose that we could meet and exceed our expectations just by meeting the customer needs we've already got. For the next 10 years we could focus on the existing customers we've got."

That reflects a simple truth: having jump-started its life, disability and long-term care insurance offerings last year, Cole said BOKF should draw $1 million in revenue from insurance policy dealings in 2008.

That's an infinitesimal amount to the $33 billion bank holding company, which recorded a $117.8 million net income for the first nine months of 2008. But since BOSC's financial consultants have reached less than 1 percent of existing BOKF customers, Cole said tapping that already friendly client base, with an emphasis on ultra- affluent customers, could bring 60- to 100-percent annual insurance revenue growth, or more.

That could allow BOKF to garner from $5 million to $10 million a year from its insurance offerings within five years, said Cole, a 13- year financial planning veteran who oversees BOKF's retail insurance efforts across its eight-state footprint.

"The sky's the limit," he said. "From an opportunity standpoint we can do several million dollars of insurance, without a doubt. There's no question this could be a huge revenue maker for us."

The former American Express Financial Advisors veteran joined BOK in September 2006 as the lender decided to restart its insurance sales efforts. …

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