After seven years of service to the state's banking
industry, Robert E. Harris has resigned as executive vice president
of the Oklahoma Bankers Association to become the new director of
the Texas Bankers Association in Austin, it was announced Wednesday.
Harris will begin his new duties in Austin in February. Max
Cook, OBA senior vice president, will serve as acting executive vice
president until a successor is selected, according to Wilson
Roberts, OBA president.
A selection committee of 10 bankers, the majority of which are
past presidents of the association, has been charged with the
responsibility of hiring a new executive vice president. Bruce
Rains, president-elect, will chair the committee, which plans to
hold its first meeting within two weeks, Roberts said.
"Obviously there has already been an interest expressed in the
job and we have candidates we are interested in," he said. "Max Cook
has been named acting director and he is a candidate for the job.
There is interest outside the state as well.
"Hopefully we will have someone appointed in 90 days."
Harris is currently working in both the Oklahoma and Texas
offices, so the transition is expected to go smoothly.
"We are obviously disappointed he is leaving, but it is a great
opportunity for him and we wish him well in his new position.
"My observation is that Bob Harris is one of the leading
association executives in the country and he has been recognized as
such," Roberts said. "As executive vice president of the association
he has successfully unified the industry."
Harris was successful in bringing together bankers in a
consensus on bank structure issues which in the past had divided
members, Roberts said.
Combined with five years as director of the Nebraska Bankers
Association, Harris has 12 years of experience in managing trade
associations for the banking industry. For one year prior to
joining the OBA and after leaving the Nebraska association, Harris
served as senior executive vice president of First National Bank in
Harris said the Oklahoma Bankers Association has increased its
stature and is perceived among banking circles as one of the
strongest state bankers associations in the country.
"As I look back I am pleased with the tremendous progress we've
made in modernizing banking laws in Oklahoma, which was done for the
most part with strong membership support.
"The association has served as catalyst to bring bankers
together to intelligently discuss proposed changes and reach
compromises that were acceptable to the vast majority."
The association has directly benefited from the expansion of
products and services which has enabled it to increase the budget
five-fold without ever increasing dues during the last seven years,
Since joining the OBA in 1980, Harris has been instrumental in
drafting and lobbying for legislation to expand bank branching laws,
form multi-bank holding companies and adopt interstate banking. …