The Oklahoma Bankers Hall of Fame inducted its first-ever recipients on December 4 at the Oklahoma History Center in Oklahoma City. Larry Briggs, Ken Fergeson and Gene Rainbolt comprise the inaugural group of bankers to receive this honor, which was initiated by the Oklahoma Bankers Association (OBA) to recognize those who have left an indelible mark on the banking industry in the state.
Larry Briggs has been president and CEO of Shawnee-based First National Bank & Trust Co. since 1994. Born in Cheyenne, he attended Central State University (now University of Central Oklahoma) and Oklahoma State University. He also served in the Oklahoma Army National Guard and Reserves as a battery commander and artillery captain.
In 1968, Dwight Rymer, who owned Citizens State Bank, encouraged Briggs to enter the banking industry and join his Morrison-based team. Briggs held almost every position at Citizens State Bank and also worked for two years at Stillwater National Bank.
Rymer eventually purchased a bank in Holdenville and offered Briggs, then just 29 years old, the opportunity to be its president. In 1994, Briggs became president and CEO of Shawnee-based First Oklahoma Bank NA, which eventually became First National Bank & Trust Co. It’s a position he holds today. He has also served on the board of the Oklahoma Bankers Association as both a member and chairman, and is currently chairman of OBA’s political action committee.
Ken Fergeson has been chairman of Altus-based NBC Oklahoma since purchasing the bank in 1985. Born in Crowell, he graduated from Texas Tech University with both bachelor’s and master’s degrees.
In 1971, he started working for Liberty National Bank in Oklahoma City. Eight years later, he joined First National Bank of Enid asexecutive vice president. In 1985, he purchased the majority of the National Bank of Commerce in Altus (now NBCOklahoma) and moved his family there within the next year. Under his leadership, the bank has grown to three locations in Altus, as well as branches in Oklahoma City, Enid, Kingfisher and Tulsa.
Fergeson has served as chairman of both the American Bankers Association as well as the Oklahoma Bankers Association, and also helped create the NBC Oklahoma Artists Series, in which a Sooner State artist is commissioned to create a painting from which numbered prints and posters are distributed by each bank location to its customers. He was also inducted into the Oklahoma Hall of Fame in 2009.
Gene Rainbolt has been chairman emeritus of Oklahoma City-based BancFirst Corp. since 2016. Born in Norman, he graduated from the University of Oklahoma with both a bachelor’s and master’s degree. He also served in the U.S. Army during the Korean War.
In 1967, Rainbolt took over as president of Federal National Bank in Shawnee. He held the position for seven years before becoming chairman. In 1985, he was named chairman of United Community Corp. He remained there until 1989, when he founded BancFirst in Oklahoma City and took over as chairman. He held this position until he transitioned to chairman emeritus.
Rainbolt established the Jeannine Rainbolt Scholarship for Elementary School Teachers, a scholarship at the University of Oklahoma in memory of his late wife. He was also inducted into the Oklahoma Hall of Fame in
1999 and has served, or is currently serving, on several boards and nonprofit entities.
Published in Bankers Digest December 10, 2018