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hundred percent gain or loss, so you have that extra layer of caution.”


4,000 miles to Grand Lake The story of Ed Townsend’s journey to northeast Oklahoma is quite unique. It actually spans two continents. He was born in Brazil, mere miles from the Amazon


River, near the remote village of Fordlandia, the son of a Ford Motor Company rubber plant worker. His parents, Charles and Elsa, moved the family to the United States when Ed was twelve years old. They understood educa- tional opportunities for their three sons would be limited in the South American jungle.


Ed spoke only Portugese as a child. His inability to speak English was a hurdle he worked hard to overcome after the family’s arrival in the U.S. He flourished in school at the family’s new hometown of Austin, Texas. He would later earn three degrees from the University


of Texas, including a Masters in Finance and Accounting, while working his way through school by wrapping TV Guide magazines.


“I was getting fifty dollars a month from my parents which, even back in those days wasn’t a whole lot of money,” Ed said. “So I also worked as a shipping clerk thirty hours a week for several years, making minimum wage.”


Ed always worked. He


sacked groceries at a local supermarket during his high school years. Ed’s decision to become a banker was made at age 13, influenced by a Texas banking icon.


“My father did his banking


at Austin National Bank and the president of the bank, Leon Stone, would leave his glass office overlooking the lobby and come shake my father’s hand every time we came in the bank. That always stuck with me.” Ed went to work for First National Bank in Dallas


shortly after graduating from college in 1967 and quickly rose to prominence in the Texas banking scene. He became vice chairman of what became InterFirst Corporation, a $22 billion dollar company. The collapse of Texas banking in the 1980s brought Ed to Oklahoma, where he took over as president and chairman of Local Federal Savings & Loan in Oklahoma City, an $800 million dollar institution that was having problems.


14 Northeast Connection


(continued from page five)


“In 1988, I did the first planned assisted aquisition in the state of Oklahoma and built that $800 million company to a $2 billion dollar company and, as result of govern- ment aquisitions, was able to turn around that operation. It traded over the counter and a family in Florida bought it. They promised me five percent of the company and then gave me the boot in 1992.” It was then that Townsend turned his attention to investment banking. He “borrowed everything I could get my hands on” and purchased Green County Federal Savings & Loan in Miami, Oklahoma.


“It had a branch in Grove, and when I crossed Sailboat


Bridge for the first time I couldn’t believe how beautiful it was. I called my wife and asked her to come look at it,” Townsend said. “We had originally planned to live in Oklahoma City and commute, but she came over and we found a lot in Buffalo Shores we liked. We moved here in 1994.”


In 1997, Townsend was part of a Wall Street


Cinderella Story when the Oklahoma City savings and loan that had given him the boot was back on the ropes. “I noticed they were having some difficulties, so I put together a group of investors and we were able to buy the company,” he said. “We raised about $250 million dollars to recapital- ize the company and built that into a $3.5 billion company which we sold to IBC in 2004.”


A beautiful lobby welcomes Bank of Grove customers.


When you oversee the daily operations of a $3.5 billion dollar company, what do you do when you retire? Townsend didn’t


have an answer. Fortunately, his wife did.


“Barbara pulled me aside and told me I needed to find a job,” Ed laughed. “That’s how this started.” Bank of Grove would open its doors a year later. Townsend, who spent much of his life banking in


Dallas, Houston and Oklahoma City, now finds himself tucked away in a small lake community in the northeast corner of Oklahoma.


“I never thought we would be in a small town, but we love it here,” he said. “We are totally committed to Grove and Grand Lake. Our heart is in the community and with the people who live in this area. We feel fortunate to be here. This is a great way to spend the twilight of my life.”


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