State Approved Bank Charter Makes Stitt Family Richer

After Kevin Stitt won his election as governor, state regulators gave his mortgage company a state bank charter – a decision that turned his company into a state-chartered bank now worth billions.

In August 2018, after announcing his run for governor, Stitt’s company, Gateway Mortgage Group, disclosed that it was working to acquire Farmers Exchange Bank — a deal that would enable Stitt’s family business to grow into one of the largest banking and mortgage operations in the United States — if he could get his application for a state bank charter approved. Previously, his company was limited to mortgage loans and had a history of running into problems with state regulators. 

Gateway had previously entered into settlements or consent orders with regulators in Georgia, Tennessee, Arkansas, Illinois, Kentucky, Nebraska, North Carolina and Mississippi. When running for office, Stitt’s campaign claimed “most of the regulatory actions stemmed from employees who were later fired when the misdeeds, ranging from unlicensed loan officers to a mortgage fraud scheme, came to light.” Several of the cases occurred in the years surrounding the 2008 financial crisis.

The Oklahoma Banking Board, a governing body appointed by the governor, approved the charter in January 2019 for their new boss — just days before Stitt took his oath of office — and the merger deal was finalized in May, four months into his term.

Stitt and his family have reaped the profits from the charter approval and will continue to do so far into the future. Stitt’s family trust continues to hold at least a 60% stake in the company, which is now a $1.9 billion asset bank.