The Finch Formerly Known As Gold

9 March 2007

Ozymandias, line three, please

Dwayne wanders through the Great Banking Hall at the First National Center, and lives to tell.

It's been over twenty years since the First National Bank and Trust Company of Oklahoma City failed. It wasn't as spectacular a flameout as Penn Square Bank four years earlier, a crash which took down mighty $40-billion Continental Illinois, but in one way it was distinctly worse: FDIC actually had to pay Los Angeles-based First Interstate Bancorp some $72 million to take over the ruins. (First Interstate itself ran aground in the middle Nineties and was eventually absorbed by Wells Fargo.)

It's been over thirty years since I had any reason to go to the First National Center (at one time I had an account at the First, mostly because my dad did), but the mental images are well-nigh indelible: it's just so — so banky, if you will. (Hey, if Mr. Monday at the Oklahoman can describe Bricktown as "bricky," I should be allowed "banky.") There hasn't been an actual bank there in ages — Bank of America, which acquired Boatmen's Bank, which succeeded First Interstate at the First National Center, is a block away at Leadership Square, a classic middle-1980s Tallish Glass Box — and while many have had plans for the complex, hardly anything has actually been done. Perhaps this is a Good Thing, since the Great Banking Hall remains intact after all these years. What I'd hoped for, I suppose, was the possibility of one of the resurgent local banks taking over the place, but I suppose the overhead would cut down the resurgence.

And come to think of it, I seldom came in through the front door; I usually came in through the Conncourse Underground.

Posted at 9:35 AM to City Scene