Please ensure Javascript is enabled for purposes of website accessibility

Bank of the Ozarks No Longer Submits Regulatory Filings to the SEC

By John Maxfield – Sep 21, 2017 at 11:11AM

You’re reading a free article with opinions that may differ from The Motley Fool’s Premium Investing Services. Become a Motley Fool member today to get instant access to our top analyst recommendations, in-depth research, investing resources, and more. Learn More

Here’s where investors can get information about the $20 billion bank based in Little Rock, Arkansas.

Bank of the Ozarks (OZK 1.01%) has taken a number of interesting steps over the past year, but nothing is more interesting than its decision to no longer submit regulatory filings to the Securities & Exchange Commission, or SEC, where investors and analysts get information about publicly traded companies.

The rapidly growing bank will remain a public company, and it will continue to trade on the Nasdaq, but it will submit all future regulatory filings to the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation, or FDIC, its principal federal regulator.

Bank of the Ozarks suspends SEC filings

Its final submission to the SEC's EDGAR database was a Form 15-15D, filed on July 7. The title of the filing says it all:


Two veteran bank analysts with a combined 60 years' worth of experience each told me that they had never heard of a bank doing this before. One didn't initially believe that a bank even could do it, much less that Bank of the Ozarks just did it.

However, thanks to a rarely used exception buried deep in the securities laws, it turns out that banks can.

"Many companies, such as banks, do not have to file reports with the SEC," reads the SEC's website. "But banks must file updated financial information with their banking regulators."

Downtown Little Rock, Arkansas at night.

Downtown Little Rock, Arkansas at night. Image source: Getty Images.

It was only by folding Bank of the Ozarks' holding company into its subsidiary Arkansas-charted bank in a corporate reorganization earlier this year that the bank could avail itself of this exemption, as bank holding companies don't qualify.

Another motivating factor for the reorganization was to shield the bank from the Federal Reserve's regulatory oversight. As a state-charted bank that isn't a member of the Federal Reserve system, Bank of the Ozarks' primary regulator is now the Arkansas State Banking Department, though it's subject to FDIC oversight as well.

Bank of the Ozarks' explanation

While this seems like an unvarnished attempt to reduce transparency, in an email, Bank of the Ozarks' chairman and CEO George Gleason defended it by pointing out that a small handful of other banks have similarly exempted themselves from the SEC's reporting requirements.

"Of course, bank stock analyst and investors covering other publicly traded banks such as Signature Bank, First Republic Bank and Towne Bank, to name a few, were well aware of this difference in filing procedures," he wrote.

According to a spokesperson at the bank, there are "over a dozen banks in total, that file with the FDIC and not the SEC."

An entrance to the FDIC headquarters.

Image source: Getty Images.

I spoke with one analyst who has covered Bank of the Ozarks for years, yet wasn't aware of the suspension until I told him about it in September -- more than two months after it went into effect. And as I already pointed out, two veteran bank analysts I spoke with had never heard of a bank doing this before.

Either way, the SEC's EDGAR database is no longer a source for Bank of the Ozarks' current and future regulatory filings. The two places investors can get them now are from the bank's investor relations website or the FDIC's page for Securities Exchange Act filings.

John Maxfield has no position in any of the stocks mentioned. The Motley Fool has no position in any of the stocks mentioned. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy.

Invest Smarter with The Motley Fool

Join Over 1 Million Premium Members Receiving…

  • New Stock Picks Each Month
  • Detailed Analysis of Companies
  • Model Portfolios
  • Live Streaming During Market Hours
  • And Much More
Get Started Now

Stocks Mentioned

Bank of the Ozarks Stock Quote
Bank of the Ozarks
$47.08 (1.01%) $0.47

*Average returns of all recommendations since inception. Cost basis and return based on previous market day close.

Related Articles

Motley Fool Returns

Motley Fool Stock Advisor

Market-beating stocks from our award-winning analyst team.

Stock Advisor Returns
S&P 500 Returns

Calculated by average return of all stock recommendations since inception of the Stock Advisor service in February of 2002. Returns as of 11/28/2022.

Discounted offers are only available to new members. Stock Advisor list price is $199 per year.

Premium Investing Services

Invest better with The Motley Fool. Get stock recommendations, portfolio guidance, and more from The Motley Fool's premium services.