5 Questions with Scott Meacham

Tulsa World
By Nancy Hollingshead
Jan. 21, 2011

Scott Meacham joined Crowe & Dunlevy law firm this month as a shareholder and director after serving as state treasurer of Oklahoma since 2005. He did not run for re-election in November. Meacham formerly served as CEO and general counsel of First National Bank & Trust of Elk City, and practiced law in Clinton.

1.    What will be your duties as you oversee Crowe & Dunlevy's banking and financial institutions practice group?
At Crowe & Dunlevy, we have a great group of banking lawyers at both our Tulsa and Oklahoma City locations. They are very talented and extremely knowledgeable of the intricacies of the rapidly changing landscape of banking law.
My role will be to coordinate the firm's representation of banks and financial institutions in the areas of loan negotiation and documentation, bank and bank holding company organization and operation, regulatory compliance and representation, and corporate and personal trust.
My initial focus has been on understanding the current relationships the firm has and identifying areas where we can provide additional value for clients. I have also been studying the new Dodd-Frank Financial Reform Act because of the myriad of new changes it will bring for Oklahoma banks and financial institutions.

2.    What will be the biggest effect on Oklahoma and its citizens from the act?
I believe it will usher in a period of unprecedented bank consolidation and diversification as many smaller banks decide the costs of doing business make it impossible for them to continue to operate unless they pursue some sort of niche strategy or merge with a larger bank or multiple smaller banks. At the individual bank level, it will mean lower earnings on debit cards, which will make it more difficult for banks to offer free and low-cost checking accounts, and increased costs and burdens associated with home real estate lending, which may lead many banks to cease offering home mortgage products.
Also, banks will face a new and very powerful consumer regulator in the Bureau of Consumer Financial Protection.

3.    What do you see as the state's financial outlook for 2011?
Oklahoma has clearly started on the path out of the recession we suffered through from late 2008 until about March of 2010. Although state economic activity and resulting state revenues have improved, we still have a long way to go until the economy gets back to where it was before the downturn.
I believe our economy has been growing at around 2 to 3 percent since last March. For 2011, I see a continuation of slow growth in that range. I do not think we will see an improvement in growth rates until the price of natural gas rebounds. So, it looks like the economy will continue to improve but at a slow pace for the rest of 2011.

4.    After leading such a public life, what do you expect now that you are entering the private sector again?
Both my wife, Susan, and I are very private people. My original life goals never included being a politician or a public servant. Politics sought me out instead of the other way around. I got into politics at the urging of and to help my best friend from law school, Brad Henry, when he was elected governor.
It was always my plan to return to the private sector and a more private existence after his term of office was over. It will be nice to be able to go out on a date with my wife and absolutely no one will know who we are.

5.    What single thing are you most proud of during your time as state treasurer?
We accomplished a lot in the 5 1/2 years I was privileged to serve. As a group, I am most proud of my staff and the great job they did at implementing all of the changes I wanted to make.
If I had to choose one thing, however, I would probably say it is the hundreds of millions of dollars in savings and increased earnings I was able to obtain for Oklahoma's taxpayers. I was able to modernize and restructure the state's investments and more than triple earnings on state investments, which amounts to over $100 million a year.
I was also able to renegotiate a myriad of state financial services contracts, saving over several hundred million over the term of these agreements.
At the end of the day, that is probably the most important thing a state treasurer can do.


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