I was on the road lately and had the chance to drop into the Bank of Oklahoma's main branch in Oklahoma City. Upon entering, it was obvious these were prudent, old-school bankers. No matter the floor I was on, quiet and calm ruled.
That's the pace of banking I like.
Indeed, there are two types of banks in the world: The old-school banks, and the modern, frenzied versions that blew up in 2008.
Obviously, the latter are rightly hated in my opinion. The excessive leveraging of the bubble era has left the world's banks severely weakened. Since 2007, the non-stop deleveraging going on in the global economy has left banks on life support, propped up by their national balance sheets. And the velocity of money has slowed to a crawl.
Yes, in most cases the banks have paid back their TARP funds - but the stigma remains.
Citigroup Inc. (NYSE: C), Bank of America Corp. (NYSE: BAC), and Wells Fargo & Co. (NYSE: WFC) all needed bailing out. And both Goldman Sachs Group Inc. (NYSE: GS) and Morgan Stanley (NYSE: MS) had to convert their charters to bank status to hide from the reality of their own numbers.
They blew up. It's that simple. Wall Street failed.
However, not all banks blew up, failed, and needed government aid to keep their doors open.
I've been watching Bank of Oklahoma's parent for a while now, even before my visit inside their building, and they're one of the banks I consider a solid institution.
This is a contrarian bank. They skipped TARP. They didn't need access to the capital, even if markets were locked up. Their dividend rate is still going up and their earnings are growing.
So it's time to buy BOK Financial Corp. (Nasdaq: BOKF) (**).
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