Banks Build Market Share with Service

Now matter how you count it, an increase in deposit market share in the competitive metro Tulsa market means a bank is getting its name in front of its target clients.
And, the banks that are making the significant increases are doing it essentially in one way: superior customer service.
Bank of Oklahoma, which trains its employees to live and breathe customer service, remained the market giant in the latest FDIC market share report with $4.15 billion, or 26.17 percent, of the deposits in the metro area as of June 30. That is an increase of 11.89 percent from a year earlier when the bank had $3.71 billion in metro deposits.
According to the FDIC report, local deposits at banks in the Tulsa Metropolitan Statistical Area grew by 7.62 percent, a $1.12 billion jump from $14.74 billion to $15.87 billion in the June 30, 2006, to June 30, 2007, period. There are 64 banks with branches reporting deposits in the metropolitan area, which includes Creek, Okmulgee, Osage, Pawnee, Rogers, Tulsa and Wagoner counties.
Twenty-nine banks showed deposit growth that exceeded the average for the area. Figures cited are for deposits in branches in the metropolitan area and do not include deposits outside the market area.

BOk Remains Market Leader
BOk showed an increase of $441.1 million in deposits in the metro area, which represented 51.4 percent of the bank’s overall increase in deposits of $858.4 million for the same period. BOk’s increase alone accounted for 39.3 percent of the overall growth in deposits in the MSA. Total deposits for the bank was $7.3 billion at June 30 this year. Parent company BOK Financial operates seven bank subsidiaries that provide services in eight states with more than 160 banking offices.
Vane Lucas, BOk senior vice president, attributed the growth to a continuation of marketing efforts and strength in the market.
“It is really a combination of several things,” he said. “The first and the most important is the bulk of deposits are in CDs and money market accounts. We have had strong pricing in those areas –obviously not out of whack with the market – but strong. Given our general overall positioning in the Tulsa market, where we are the banking leader, we will in many cases win the ties.”
Lucas said expansions in the market, including the addition of a branch in Owasso and at 55th Street and Lewis Avenue, boosted deposit growth.
“Those certainly helped us in reaching new parts of the market,” he said.

Union Bank Serves the ‘Little Guy’
The Tulsa branch of Union Bank of Chandler, 5623 S. Lewis Ave., jumped seven slots in the rankings, moving from 53 in 2006 to 46. The bank showed a 63.8 percent growth in deposits from $27.6 million to $45.2 million. The bank showed a 328 percent gain in the year prior.
Janet W. Gotwals, president of the Tulsa branch, attributed the banks growth to strong T-bill pricing, a three-year-old branch building and customer service.
“We are into our third year in the branch, and I think we are much more visible,” she said. “We have been able to maintain our good customer base.”
In addition, she said, “We just treat our customers great.”
In a market dominated by huge banks “the little guy gets left behind,” Gotwals said. “We love the little guy. We love the customers that don’t necessarily have a million dollars.”
She said the bank’s T-bill accounts are the bank’s first contact with many new customers and the branch’s commitment to strong yields keeps the customers.
When rates began to drop sharply in July and August, the bank sent a letter to account holders committing to a rate of 4.867 percent for the next month, she said.
“We got numerous calls from people appreciating that,” Gotwals said. “We just took the time to let people know, ‘We know the rates are going down, but we are still going to offer you this good rate.’ I think it was good faith for our customers to go ahead and pay them when, yeah, it is going to cost us more money, just to show them that we want to keep their business.”
The branch gets most of its new customers from referrals, she said.
“We are in a niche, and I like it. We have shown a lot of good faith to customers,” she said. “I got criticized not long ago for getting too involved with a customer in helping to counsel the customer about his business.”
She said one of her customers was in negotiations with a California businessman and “I was making sure my customer understood and I got right in the middle of it.”
“This California guy said, ‘Since when does a banker become a customer’s counselor?’” she said. “I think that is my biggest strong point.”

Valley National Builds
on Relationships
Valley National Bank, based at 4812 E. 81st, showed a 20.8 percent growth from $134.1 million to $162.1 million. The bank, which has two other branches in Tulsa and recently announced a move into the Bixby market, jumped six slots, moving from 25 in 2006 to 19.
Doug Terry, president and CEO, credited the growth to its commercial business relationships.
“It has been a steady growth for several years,” he said. “This past year has been greater than we might have even hoped for or expected.
He said most of the growth was in the bank’s commercial accounts.
“We do everything, but primarily we are a commercial bank,” he said.
“I would not say that we really have a niche,” he added. “Our business is relationships. This is going to sound a little bit like an advertisement, but it’s the truth. Our customer service is outstanding, I think. Its not always perfect, but we try to make it very good and very responsive.
Valley National has hired Blake Moffatt as its Bixby market president and plans a 4,300-SF, two-story, full-service facility on the southwest corner of South 131st Street and Memorial Drive.
Work is to start on the site in November with opening expected in fall 2008.
“In the next 2-3 years at that corner, we are going to see probably 500-600 new households which will create opportunities for consumer business which we don’t have as much now as we do commercial,” Terry said. ?

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