My 2 Cents: Tiny Bank At Penn Square Mall Goes Bust - News9.com - Oklahoma City, OK - News, Weather, Video and Sports |

My 2 Cents: Tiny Bank At Penn Square Mall Goes Bust

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July 5, 1982 was for most Oklahomans a night just like this; hot, uneventful. But some knew there were dark days coming because of decisions being made 30 years ago Thursday night in a tiny bank situated on the back side of Penn Square Mall.

In just five years the bank's assets had ballooned from $62 million to $520 million, impressive but it disguised the dreadful truth that the bankers at Penn Square were loaning money to just about anyone who came in with their hand out, especially if they smelled of oil or natural gas.

But energy prices started falling and 30 years ago Thursday night federal bank regulators said "enough", they shut the little bank down, which at the time was servicing $2 billion in loans.

Desperate bank customers lined up the next day in the heat at Penn Square hoping their money was safe, some was, some was gone forever. The oil bust had come home to roost.

Penn Square was the first of 122 banks in Oklahoma that would fail during the 80's. In the media we knew every Friday was bank closing day.

If you didn't live here then, or you're too young to remember it, trust me it was a very bleak time.

Our arrogance forced us to broaden our economy, "diversify" was the rallying cry of the day. We did, and we're much better off for it.

But Oklahomans learned a painful lesson July 5, 1982.

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    Thanks so much for giving me Your 2 Cents. I read every e-mail I get and appreciate your comments. Be looking for Your 2 Cents Monday through Friday on NEWS 9 at 10. Thanks so much, Kelly Ogle, NEWS 9 Anchor

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