The economy may have hit a screeching halt, thanks to COVID-19, but many Oklahoma small businesses and individuals are still financially afloat, thanks to the proactive actions, financial savvy and exceptional leadership at Chickasaw Community Bank.
Headquartered in Oklahoma City, the bank was created in 2002 as a special vision of Chickasaw Nation Gov. Bill Anoatubby, who continues to oversee its operation. CCB now boasts more than 100 employees and has grown from $7.5 million in assets to more than $300 million today, said CEO T.W. Shannon.
“The No. 1 thing about us is that we are a community bank—we take the time to get to know you and your business,” Shannon said. “We have no set formula we have to use to approve loans, unlike other larger banks. Having a personal relationship matters, and we are a relationship bank that is proud to serve all Oklahomans.
“People usually come to us for three reasons,” he added. “One, they have commercial needs, usually to support a small business. Second is for mortgage assistance, or third for retail needs, which includes checking and savings accounts, investments products, etc.”
Those services became even more critical, as businesses and families faced the threat of closures, job losses and financial hardship due to the pandemic.
“We were very proactive in working with our customers, and I believe that’s been our biggest contribution this year,” Shannon said. “We were one of the major federal PPP (Paycheck Protection Program) lenders and one of the first to open our services to non-customers. We were able to work with individual businesses during the pandemic through deferred payments and other options and help keep them afloat.
“This is one of the benefits of our being a community bank,” he added. “Because we know our customers personally, we knew who would need help and who was eligible, and we reached out to them. Many of them didn’t know they had this option available.”
Another notable CCB success is geared exclusively to its Native American clientele. Shannon said he is proud that the bank is the national leader in obtaining mortgages for these customers through the federal HUD lending program. The CCB team works with tribes across the United States to expand the rates of Native American home ownership.
Still, “The majority of our customers are not Chickasaw,” Shannon said. “To me, the word ‘Chickasaw’ is important because it represents values and heritage that we all share, but we do not focus only on the tribe. We serve all Oklahomans. That’s our mission, and it was Gov. Anoatubby’s vision for everything we do.”
It’s not just the customers who enjoy Chickasaw Community Bank—the employees do as well. For the sixth straight year, the bank has been voted one of the “Best Places to Work in Oklahoma” by the The Oklahoman.
“It all ties in together,” Shannon said. “We believe if we take care of our people, they will take care of our community.”
Chickasaw Community Bank is located at 909 S. Meridian in Oklahoma City and has additional loan product offices in both Nichols Hills and Tulsa. Also, it has employees who work remotely from Florida, Indiana, Kentucky, Oregon and South Carolina. More information is available on the bank’s website, CCB.bank, on Facebook at @ChicksawCommunityBank, or by calling 405.946.2265 or toll-free 1.877.409.2265. The bank is open Monday through Friday. Lobby hours are 9 a.m. to 5 p.m., and drive-through hours are 8 a.m. to 6 p.m.
The Nation had its own bank during Oklahoma’s pre-statehood years, Shannon noted, but it had closed early on. In 2003, Gov. Anaotubby created the second tribal bank—appropriately known as Bank 2—and the institution was rebranded as Chickasaw Community Bank in January of 2020. Much of the team’s success is due to the leadership of Shannon, who joined the bank as president in 2017 and became CEO last year.
Helping the community means more to its leaders than just providing services. In keeping with its motto, “Building Better Lives for Everyone,” the bank provides funding to a variety of Oklahoma nonprofits, plus some international projects. A particular source of pride is serving as the chief corporate sponsor for the Oklahoma City MAPS project’s new Clara Luper Center, honoring the civil rights pioneer.
The bank is flourishing under the leadership of Shannon, and for him it’s the latest step in a stellar career. Raised in Lawton as the son of a teacher and a social worker, he was naturally inclined to a career in public service. After earning a degree in communications from Cameron University, Shannon went to work consecutively for Oklahoma Congressmen J.C. Watts and Tom Cole, while simultaneously earning his law degree from Oklahoma City University.
He made history in January 2013, when at age 34 he became the youngest ever speaker of the Oklahoma House of Representatives and the youngest speaker in the country. He was also the first Republican ever elected to Oklahoma’s Congressional District 64. Named a “rising star” by the Republican National Committee, Shannon was part of a team advising President Trump on poverty-related issues, and serves on the board of the Center for Urban Renewal and Education. (CURE is a Washington-based think tank dedicated to culture, race and poverty and through which he engages with a network of conservative black pastors to advocate for policy solutions.)
While he continues to serve in a variety of state and national leadership roles, under Shannon’s guidance the bank has doubled its assets during his three-year tenure. He said he considers it an honor to be at the helm of Chickasaw Community Bank and to help realize the vision of Gov. Anoatubby and the Chickasaw Nation.
“As a Chickasaw myself, it means everything,” he said. “During my career I saw how community banks make a difference, so when Gov. Anoatubby asked me to take on the job, I didn’t hesitate. The tribe has been so helpful to me; they supported me when I was getting my law degree. The nation has supported me my entire life. This is a way I can help both it and all Oklahomans.”