Why Choose a Bank?
A Special Role
Oklahoma's banks play a unique role in the state and its communities. The industry's contributions may be measured not only in dollars, but in community improvements, jobs and quality of life.
Banks fuel economic growth and job creation through lending to business, industry and farmers. They help families and individuals reach their dreams for home ownership, education, small business ownership and secure retirements. And they support our schools, roads, infrastructure, and state and local government by paying taxes.
Banks also make tremendous improvements in quality of life for residents of their communities. They help the less fortunate and strongly support schools and community improvement projects. Bank employees donate hundreds of thousands of volunteer hours to community programs each year. A recent survey of the Oklahoma Bankers Association sought to measure this impact in some way. Here are the results.
The economic impact of Oklahoma banks on their communities is large and widespread.
- Responding banks reported awarding more than $208,000 in scholarships last year and originating more than $140 million in student loans.
- 64 percent of the 135 responding banks said they participate in or support local economic development corporations or similar organizations devoted to industrial expansion and job creation. Reported dollar contributions and pledges in this area totaled $872,000.
- 26 banks reported investments totaling nearly $2.7 million in community development corporations.
- 37 banks said they offer special mortgage programs to low- and moderate-income persons. The reported value of these mortgages exceeded $65 million.
- 26 banks are involved in programs that develop or finance housing for low- and moderate-income persons. Reported investments/contributions to these programs exceeded $1.1 million in 2002.
A 2003 survey of Oklahoma's banks confirmed their impact on the state. Of the state's 270-plus banks, 135 responded to the Oklahoma Bankers Association's Community Involvement Survey. The results indicate that banks continue their longstanding tradition of committing both monetary donations and countless hours to the organizations that strengthen their hometowns.
Responding banks reported contributing more than $8.6 million in 2002 for community support, including charities, civic organizations, human service organizations, community projects and community events. Projecting this level of giving would translate into more than $17.5 million in donations.
- Surveyed banks reported that their staff and directors donated more than 229,900 hours in volunteer time to community service in 2002.
- 97 percent of responding banks said they made financial contributions to charities, community groups, service programs or community projects.
- 92 percent encourage bank employees to volunteer time to community organizations and projects.
- 81 percent sponsored local cultural and/or sporting events
- 87 percent sponsored or otherwise supported financial education in local schools.
Did You Know?
In fall 2000, the Oklahoma Bankers Association and many banks helped launch the Bank At School Program. The program, created with State Treasurer Robert Butkin and State Superintendent of Public Instruction Sandy Garrett, brings financial education into elementary schools across the state. Oklahoma banks have formed partnerships with almost 350 elementary schools to educate children about money and finance.
Each year, bankers across Oklahoma teach financial skills to elementary school students on “National Teach Children to Save Day.”
More than a third of Oklahoma's banks are “Banks of Promise,” meaning they are a part of “America's Promise: The Alliance for Youth.” These banks increase their community commitment annually and work to empower today's youth so they can secure a better future for themselves.
The OBA has a number of materials available for consumers to help them protect themselves against such foes as predatory lenders and identity thieves.
Oklahoma's banks raised more than $350,000 for The Sept. 11 Fund and victims of Oklahoma disasters. Through the OBA, banks have raised funds for Mothers Against Drunk Driving, victims of the Oklahoma City bombing and numerous other causes.