Each weekday at noon, elevator doors open and hundreds of men and women pour out of Oklahoma City's downtown buildings into the maze-like tunnel they call the Metro Concourse. There, safe from the scorching heat of summer and the cold and damp of winter, they dash through the blue and yellow corridors to lunch.
When Jack Conn walks through
the Concourse each noon, however, he seldom rushes. Puffing leisurely on a cigarette, greeting friends as they hurry by, he walks slowly, like a man enjoying the scenery. And when he approaches the wall bearing the plaque which honors
the man responsible for the Concourse, he slows his pace still more.
"I really do try not to stop," smiles the Fidelity Bank chairman and CEO, his eyes twinkling.
But he admits somewhat sheepishly that it's often a losing battle, not only because it is lack Conn the plaque honors as the "Father of the Metro Concourse," but also because that plaque seems to symbolize for him the new role of the banker in today's society.
Relaxing that day in his office above Fidelity Plaza, Conn points out that the past 50 years have witnessed a 180 degree turnabout in the way bankers view both themselves and their banks in relation to the communities they serve.
"The old days of the 'no-no' banker with the high collar and the cold eyes is completely passe," he says, settling back in his large leather chair. "Instead, bankers today think of their banks as quasi-public institutions with a strong obligation to provide all types of service to the public. And they see themselves as having certain obligations to the community as well."
Why the change? Perhaps, Conn believes, because businessmen in general have come to regard their own success as dependent upon the economic well being of the communities they serve. And perhaps, he suggests, because the public has become more demanding.
"People are more economically independent than ever before, so they are looking for more and better