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Gateway Mortgage-Farmers Exchange Bank merger complete

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Stitt
Stitt

A mortgage company founded by Gov. Kevin Stitt has finalized a merger to form a new banking corporation.

Stitt founded Gateway Mortgage Group in 2000, long before his ascension into state politics. But he stepped down as the company’s CEO on Aug. 1, 2018, during his gubernatorial campaign.

On Monday, Gateway Mortgage Group and Farmers Exchange Bank finalized a merger to operate under the name Gateway First Bank.

The Jenks-based mortgage company raised about $40 million in equity capital to fund its acquisition of the 83-year-old bank based in Cherokee.

Gateway First Bank, which becomes one of the biggest banks in the state by employment and net income, touts $1.2 billion in assets and more than 1,200 employees.

As part of the acquisition, the Stitt Family Trusts, owners of Gateway Mortgage, agreed to purchase more than 85 percent of the stock of Farmers Exchange.

Last year, Stitt appointed Stephen Curry, who previously served the company in an advisory role, as his replacement. The governor's office declined to comment on completion of the merger.

In an effort to avoid a conflict of interest, the state Banking Board asked the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation to be the lead agency during all examinations of the bank while Stitt is governor.

Curry, in a statement, said the merger will allow Gateway to improve its customer service and expand its banking products and mortgage solutions offered to customers.

“This acquisition and resulting transformation is a very important achievement for Gateway,” he said. “By combining two successful Oklahoma companies to form Gateway First Bank, we have created a robust foundation for future growth."

The merger gives Gateway banking locations across all but far western Oklahoma and the Panhandle. Gateway's in-state locations include Jenks, Owasso, Stillwater, Enid, Edmond, Norman, Ada, Durant and Oklahoma City.

Carmen Forman

Carmen Forman covers the state Capitol and governor's office for The Oklahoman. A Norman native and graduate of the University of Oklahoma, she previously covered state politics in Virginia and Arizona before returning to Oklahoma. Read more ›

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