The First Bank & Trust, including its branch in Luther will be sold to BancFirst, it was revealed Tuesday.
Luther Branch President Gary Roy said the sale will be positive for the Town of Luther emphasizing that the bank is in excellent financial health, so much so that when the owner of the bank, Mr. Scott Martin, recently decided to sell his seven branch financial institution, Bancfirst saw the attraction and made an offer.
The purchase price for the bank is not known, but the sale will go public on Wednesday, as Bancfirst is publicly traded. Bancfirst is Oklahoma’s largest state-chartered bank based in Oklahoma City with 100-branches spread across the state, including branches in nearby Choctaw, Jones and Harrah.
When the sales goes through, that number will increase by seven including the First Bank & Trust branches of Luther, Wagoner, Ketchum, Disney, Grove, Carney and Tulsa.
Roy began telling his employees and customers on Tuesday in advance of the public news. He said he only has been aware of the possible sale since June and the deal moved very quickly. Bank employees were taking in the news and encouraged that Bancfirst’s business model lets community banks operate locally, much like it has done as First Bank & Trust.
The bank is not expected to lose any employees or have significant changes in service, except for offering a broader array of banking products, such as online banking, once the transition is made. The sale is expected in January 2018.
According to the Bancfirst website: “Bancfirst operates as a “super community bank,” managing its community banking offices on a decentralized basis, which permits them to be responsive to local customer needs. Underwriting, funding, customer service and pricing decisions are made by Presidents in each market within the Company’s strategic parameters.”
And does this sale affect the Luther branch getting a new building? It’s still on. Roy said Bancfirst is enthusiastic about the growth of Luther’s bank and its need for more space. As Luther Register readers know, the bank has offered to give the Town of Luther its current building on Main Street for Town Hall, in exchange for a couple of acres of town owned land on Highway 66.
To date, the Town is seeking engineering and survey work; and the bank is working with an architect. The proposed site of the new bank is near Wildhorse Park on the east side of Town.
Long-time Luther residents will remember the last time the bank had a change, not under good circumstances. It was a dark day back in August of 1997 when the FDIC came in and shut down the bank. In the aftermath, two former bank officers were sentenced to prison for falsifying loan documents.
The bank didn’t stay closed for long though when the First National Bank of Wagoner reopened the Luther bank. There hasn’t been a change in ownership in 30 years. Both Roy and Vice President Leslie Holman were there in 1987 and want to assure their customers that this change is nothing like that one.
Roy said while not everyone is comfortable with change, this one is a positive and is poised to help Luther’s growth. He will also oversee the Bancfirst operations in Carney and Jones, as well as Luther. Roy commented that the Luther branch is part of a $300 million conglomeration but will move to a $7 billion organization under Bancfirst that lets communities continue to make local decisions.