Banker & Philanthropist
H.E. (Gene) Rainbolt acquired his first bank, the First American Bank in Purcell in 1962. In 1965 he acquired Federal National Bank in Shawnee, and two years later he and a group of investors began acquiring banks in Oklahoma, which led in 1985 to the formation of United Community Corporation, the State’s first multi-bank holding company. In 1989 BancFirst was founded, which is now the largest state-chartered bank in Oklahoma.
Gene Rainbolt was born and raised in a single-parent home during the Great Depression in Norman, Oklahoma, near the University of Oklahoma campus. He could have enjoyed a promising career in academia but instead left for Army service in Korea and Japan. He is best known for revolutionizing Oklahoma’s outdated and backward banking system, a feat that took nearly 30 years to achieve.
As Gene was building the largest state-chartered bank in Oklahoma he also helped dozens of overlooked-yet-promising children attend university while adopting a mission to create a state in which every child could have the opportunity to succeed.
Gene is a graduate of the University of Oklahoma with both undergraduate and graduate degrees. His alma mater has honored him on multiple occasions, including the Distinguished Service Award and an Honorary Doctorate. In 1999 he was inducted into the Oklahoma Hall of Fame and has received Honorary Doctorates from Oklahoma Baptist University, Oklahoma City University, and Oklahoma Christian University.
And he hired Willie Nelson to play his birthday party, twice.
Interview with Gene Rainbolt
Müllerhaus Legacy Website Team
Date Created: May 10, 2019
Date Published: September 30, 2019
Notes: Recorded by John Erling in Tulsa, Oklahoma. Digital Audio Sound Recording, Non-Music.
Tags: Depression, Dust Bowl, Pearl Harbor, Rationing, President Roosevelt, Harry Truman, Na-tional Guard, University of Oklahoma, Korea, Polio, Okinawa, James Bumgarner, David Hall, BancFirst, Willie Nelson