November 18, 2013

Name change for Southwest Bancorp’s banks in three states now official

Mark Funke wants people to think of his bank’s new name as a verb, as a call to action.

Mark Funke wants people to think of his bank’s new name as a verb, as a call to action.

It was the idea of the native Wichitan and CEO of Stillwater, Okla.-based Southwest Bancorp to bring all his company’s banks in three states under one name and charter.

And after engaging a firm to do “a very diligent branding study, including a variety of customer surveys,” officials came up with Bank SNB.

The name change was completed on paper over the weekend. But new signage hasn’t been installed at all of the bank’s offices, including in east Wichita, Funke noted in an interview Monday at Bank SNB’s Wilson Estates office, near 21st and Rock.

“We’ve got a couple of unique situations that won’t allow temporary signage,” Funke said. He said the signage at the bank’s east Wichita office, as well as at a couple of offices in Texas and Oklahoma, still need to be changed to reflect the new name and branding.

Funke, who joined the bank’s holding company as CEO a little more than a year ago, said it was one of his early goals to give the 27 bank offices operated by Southwest’s Bank of Kansas and Stillwater National Bank and Trust one charter – as a national bank – and a singular identity.

He said it’s more efficient and cheaper for the company, which has $2 billion in assets. Moreover, one identity makes it less confusing to customers, many of whom are commercial and medical enterprises.

“We have one operating system now, one website, one set of regulators,” he said. “That’s critically important. And we intend to grow in our footprint with a common brand, common direction that makes it a lot easier.

“I think it makes us a stronger organization and positions our bank for the future,” he said.

Funke and Pat Gearhart, Bank SNB’s Wichita market president, expect all of the bank’s offices to have permanent signs in place in the next few weeks.

Funke grew up in the College Hill neighborhood and graduated from Wichita East High School. He met his wife while attending Kansas State University and after graduation moved with her to Houston, where she had a job waiting for her.

Funke said he worked in Houston as a banker for a few years before joining BOK Financial in Oklahoma City in 1984. He worked at BOK until last year, when he was pegged to replace Southwest’s longtime CEO Rick Green, who retired.

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