Bank of Ozarks Opens LPO, Plans Tulsa Subsidiary

In anticipation of opening a Tulsa-based banking subsidiary in 2007, Little Rock-based Bank of the Ozarks, Inc., has created a loan production office in Tulsa.
The holding company plans to open the Tulsa subsidiary, Bank of the Ozarks, US, under a new Oklahoma bank charter, said Evans Rector, president of the Oklahoma division.
The company will use the Oklahoma charter to continue its expansion plans in states with reciprocal banking agreements, including North Carolina.
The Bank of the Ozarks Loan Production Office, 2431 E. 61st St., Ste. 250, is part of a long-term expansion by Bank of the Ozarks, which during the quarter just ended included the opening of new banking offices in Texarkana, Springdale and Hot Springs, Ark., and Texarkana, Texas. The company also opened a new Fayetteville banking office to replace its temporary office there.
“Bank of the Ozarks is a 103-year old Arkansas bank which has been pursuing an aggressive expansion strategy for approximately 12 years,” said George Gleason, chairman and CEO. “During that time we have grown from five offices to our present 63 banking offices and three loan production offices.
Gleason said, “Bank of the Ozarks has substantially completed expansion of our Arkansas franchise with our remaining Arkansas branches expected to be completed in the next couple of years. We have already started expansion in Texas and North Carolina, and we are now beginning in Oklahoma.”
“We are interested in the favorable demographics and growth aspects of a number of Oklahoma markets, and expect to initially focus on the metropolitan Tulsa area,” Gleason said.
“We will soon proceed with plans to charter a new Oklahoma bank subsidiary through which we will ultimately conduct all of our Oklahoma operations,” Gleason said.
The company intends to file the charter application with the Oklahoma State Banking Department this year. The approval process can take several weeks.
“We expect to utilize that charter to expand to other states, including North Carolina,” he said. “Oklahoma is among a group of states permitting reciprocal interstate branching, and this makes an Oklahoma charter particularly appealing to us.”
Bank of the Ozarks opened a loan production office in North Carolina in August 2001.
Rector, who has been active in Tulsa banking since 1988, working at Bank of Oklahoma, Stillwater National Bank and Grand Lake Bank, said he is building the portfolio of the 2,400 SF Tulsa LPO while hiring additional staff and selecting a site for the Tulsa headquarters.
He said the company expects to have a tract under contract in next 30 days to build a 20,000 SF full-service facility with a drive-in. He said the new building should open in the fourth quarter of 2007. ?



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