The Oklahoma State Banking Department is one of just a few state agencies originally authorized by the Oklahoma Constitution in 1907. The first Banking Commissioner was H. H. Smock, who served from 1907 until 1909. Since statehood, the Banking Department has had 25 different Commissioners. Though Commissioners are appointed to 4-year terms by the Governor, some have served as little as 2 months (Dr. Ernest T. Bynum in 1923), while the current Commissioner, Mick Thompson, has served over 25 years and his current term extends through 2020.
The Banking Department is located at 2900 N. Lincoln Boulevard in Oklahoma City. It occupies the first new building constructed as part of the Lincoln Boulevard Renaissance project started in the 1990s. The Banking Department receives no taxpayer funding and operates strictly on the funds paid by the industries it regulates.
The Banking Department supervises 158 state-chartered banks, 13 state-chartered credit unions, 8 trust companies, and 1 savings association. It also licenses 14 money order companies and 106 money transmission companies. The principal effort of the Banking Department is directed toward the examination of banks, credit unions, trust companies, and savings associations. The Department is also responsible for determining whether new institutions are approved to operate in Oklahoma – and whether existing institutions are allowed to expand operations. The Department shares supervision of depository institutions with the following federal bank regulators: the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation, Federal Reserve Bank of Kansas City, and the National Credit Union Administration.
Through its examinations, the Banking Department can determine whether institutions are making safe and sound lending and investment decisions and protecting the deposits of their customers. If weaknesses are found, the Department can implement formal and informal supervisory actions to ensure compliance with applicable laws and prevent the failure of a financial institution.
With respect to its regulation of money order companies and money transmitters, the Department supervises such institutions to assure they maintain adequate security (such as a surety bond) and net worth. The Department’s supervision is directed at consumer protection and making sure that only those companies with sound business operations may conduct business in Oklahoma.