Oklahoma City-based InterBank targets DFW as key priority in new growth strategy – Dallas Business Journal – Dallas Business Journal

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An Oklahoma City bank has made more than a dozen hires in Dallas-Fort Worth this year as it executes a new strategy to amp up its presence in the region and grow its business.
North Texas is a key priority for InterBank moving forward, said President and Chief Operating Officer C.K. Lee. The bank, a subsidiary of Olney Bancshares, has historically used acquisitions growth to expand into new markets and businesses. Lee, who was hired last summer, said now the bank is focused on adding strategic employees and lines of business to focus its efforts on Dallas-Fort Worth.
“The Dallas-Fort Worth Metroplex is one of the greatest places on earth to do business,” Lee said. “The thesis behind Dallas is that it’s not as resource- or single-industry-dependent as some of the other metropolitan areas in the state. We’re a very diversified economy, we have a tremendously diversified population base. It’s an exciting place to live and work…Of all the places where we were, it would be a great market for us to expand organically.”
InterBank took on the new strategy last year when it outlined what it would need to be successful post-pandemic, Lee said. Though the pandemic hasn’t ended, Lee thought deepening the bank’s roots in a metropolitan area, specifically Dallas-Fort Worth, would help the $3.5-billion-asset bank reach its growth goals.
In the last year, InterBank has hired 12 new senior loan officers, a DFW regional president and community development leader, along with bringing on Lee as COO, to plant more folks in North Texas and grow its local portfolios. Lee said InterBank currently has a loan portfolio of just under $1 billion in Dallas-Fort Worth, and is looking to grow to $1.5 billion in the next three to five years, and eventually double it. 
Though the new senior loan officers are still under restrictions from their previous jobs to operate at full capacity, InterBank has other concurrent initiatives to elevate its DFW services.
“I think we’ve dropped a pretty big rock in the pond here,” Lee said on the bank’s strategy timeline, referring to its recent hires and investments. “Our instincts right now are to let this strategy play out, and let these folks do their thing.”
InterBank entered the North Texas market through a series of six acquisitions between 2013 and 2015 and was integrating those companies for several years. A deal is unlikely in the bank’s immediate future as it grows organically, but Lee said the option is never completely ruled out. 
The goal now is to augment its offerings, Lee said. InterBank has updated its systems and vendors, including back-end operations, analytics and modeling. The bank has also invested in its treasury services and focused on growing its commercial and industrial book of business, Lee said.
Although the pandemic steamrolled hospitality business, InterBank has a heavy portfolio of loans in the industry that Lee said have held up well through prudent liquidity management and regulator flexibility. The new loan officers will also grow different industries through their existing relationships, the COO added.
Founded in 1987, InterBank has grown to 550 employees across the company, with more than 50 in North Texas, and growing. 
Lee added that the company is in the best reserves and liquidity positions in its history, and has $100 million in excess capital that it can use on its growth strategy. 
“So far, we’ve been able to sustain that level of conservatism and still secure a good return for our shareholders,” Lee said. “We can’t take our eye off that ball either. It’s a balancing act, and we feel like we’re striking a good balance now.”
Lee said he thinks the bank can realistically hit $5 billion to $7 billion in assets, or double its size, in the next five years. 
Though the bank’s new plan will likely reshape its local presence, Lee said the bank is not overhauling all operations. As the bank grows, Lee said InterBank needs to ensure it can meet regulations, manage efficiently and be competitive in the market.
“We came into this with so many strengths — a wonderful bank culture, an efficient culture, earnings, growth, expansion, and good credit,” Lee said. “The last thing I want to do is mess with any of that. I’ve been very careful in my conversations around the bank to make sure that we are enhancing and upgrading and fixing things without disrupting the natural flow of what we built here.”
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