Greg McKinney of Bank of the Ozarks (CFO of the Year Finalist, Large Bank)

by Arkansas Business Staff  on Monday, Oct. 28, 2013 12:00 am  

Greg McKinney

A year ago, when Greg McKinney was a finalist for CFO of the Year in the same large bank category, he predicted that Bank of the Ozarks Inc. would have scores more opportunities to bid on failing banks around the country.

After all, BOZ had successfully scooped up seven of them between March 2010 and April 2011.

“I missed it on that one,” he said recently. The Federal Deposit Insurance Corp. has closed barely a score of banks in the first three-quarters of 2013, and Bank of the Ozarks wasn’t the winning bidder for any of them. But Bank of the Ozarks has continued acquiring banks anyway — live banks this time.

“We bought the little one-branch bank down in southeast Alabama, the first live bank acquisition that the bank has done since about ’03,” McKinney said. “Then early this year we announced the acquisition of the First National Bank out at Shelby, North Carolina. That soaked up a lot of my time.”

The well-documented combination of the Great Recession and new federal regulation has led a lot of small and medium-sized banks to seek buyers. And a lot of them would like to be bought by Bank of the Ozarks, recognized in August by Bank Director magazine as the top-performing bank in the nation in the $1 billion- to $5 billion-asset category.

“We have more acquisition opportunity and more investment bankers calling us and trying to pitch us a potential bank acquisition than we can handle,” McKinney said. “We have to make the list and do some tabletop due diligence and prioritization.”

McKinney, 45, earned an accounting degree at Louisiana Tech University. He joined Bank of the Ozarks in 2003 after 10 years in public accounting and a couple of years as part of the financial leadership team at Acxiom Corp. of Little Rock.

McKinney was named CFO in 2011. His decade at Bank of the Ozarks has been marked by dramatic growth, from barely $1 billion in assets to more than $4 billion and from about 400 employees to more than 1,100.

A proprietary spreadsheet he began developing to help analyze potential acquisitions is still being refined and used by the finance team at Bank of the Ozarks, but his own duties have changed “big time,” he said, especially in recent weeks.

Longtime Chief Operating Officer Mark Ross announced his retirement. The COO title and much of Ross’ job have been inherited by Tyler Vance, who retains his previous title of chief banking officer. But five departments that previously reported to COO Ross are now reporting to CFO McKinney — compliance, facilities, real estate acquisition, human resources and Community Reinvestment Act compliance.

“I’ve spent a lot of time the last couple of months trying to get my arms around all those functional areas,” he said.



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