First Oklahoma Bank: Leading the way in community banking values
As you drive west on the Jenks bridge, you might notice a large, extravagant, six-story brick building with a gold dome and an American Flag flying on top of it.
Move over Jenks Lighthouse because that is the new face of Jenks, First Oklahoma Bank.
First Oklahoma Bank started in November 2009, but it didn’t open its doors in its Jenks location until November 2014.
“We had been in community banking since 1988 as a family when we moved to Tulsa,” First Oklahoma Bank Chairman of the Board and Co-CEO Tom Bennett Jr. said. “When we decided to start First Oklahoma Bank, we looked at different sites, but we chose this location because the Jenks community has good people to work, good people to do business with and a strong local economy. This location was fantastic. The city was 100 percent cooperative with our building and the parking garage, and the government and business leaders were great.”
First Oklahoma Bank acquired Glencoe State Bank and it’s $10 million in assets in 2009 and as of June 30, 2019, First Oklahoma Bank has grown to $725.6 million in assets, which makes it the 16th largest bank headquartered in Oklahoma out of 201 total banks.
Tom Bennett III, First Oklahoma Bank President and Co-CEO said Jenks is a special place.
“Being a graduate of Jenks High School, I appreciate the wonderful support of the Jenks community and the greater Tulsa area over the last 10 years,” he said. “The entrepreneurial climate in Jenks makes this a great place to build a company. The values of the people of Jenks align with our corporate values of treating others like we want to be treated. We are proud to be headquartered in Jenks.”
That rapid growth has made First Oklahoma Bank the fastest growing bank in Oklahoma history, the fastest growing community bank headquartered in Tulsa county in the last 10 years and the fastest growing new bank started in 2009 in Oklahoma and Texas.
In the last two months, First Oklahoma Bank has reached $743.9 million in assets as of Aug. 31.
“What I call the Jenks-Union corridor (in south Tulsa) of deposits has grown dramatically over the last 20 years,” Tom said. “This has been an amazingly cooperative community. It is an ideal scenario for us. I believe the philosophy of a community bank should be to take deposits from one generation of the community, generally the older part of the population who has saved their money all their lives and want to be safe with it and not take much risk and want to be able to get their money back if they need it, and then turn it around and loan that money to the younger generation of depositers who are building homes, families, businesses and professional practices of all kinds. Our job is to manage risk of transfer of wealth between generations in the community. If we do a good job, we help the community grow, if we don’t the community doesn’t grow as it should. That is the role of community banking and we are honored to do that here in Jenks.”
Bennett’s wife and First Oklahoma Bank EVP/Marketing and Investor Relations Sue Bennett said she enjoys the small town feel that Jenks provides.
“The values of this community are incredible,” Sue said. “It has a small-town feel and allows us to connect with people on a personal level. We do the same kind of banking as big banks, but we are a big bank with small-town values. We really believe in the saying you ‘treat others as you want to be treated’. The people here are incredible. Everyone’s heart is into what they are doing. It is not just about the job, it is about what is best for the community.”
Another aspect of the community Tom said he appreciates is the school district here in Jenks. The Bennett’s children all graduated from Jenks High School.
“Jenks Public Schools is fantastic,” Tom said. “Our family has been involved with Jenks schools for a long time. Our grandchildren go to Jenks Public Schools now. It was a big part of the draw. This community is special because it starts with good values, good people, people who want to get things done. It is a good business community and it is a great place to recruit people to. It is a wonderful environment. In other places, local government can be tough to work with, but not here. They are a great group of folks to work with. The people here are very friendly and you just feel very safe. It is a winning community. Hard work and good values are instilled in our kids at Jenks Public Schools.”
Tom said there is one other aspect of Jenks he really enjoys.
“The faith community here in the Jenks area is great,” he said. “The way they all cooperate and work together is special. We are very glad to be here.”