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Feds help a family business - Great Southern Bancorp

By Laurie Bennett

December 11, 2009 at 10:58am

When the economy collapsed in late 2008, Great Southern Bancorp (GSBC) of Missouri turned to the federal government, taking $58 million in TARP money.

This year, when other banks failed, Great Southern spotted a growth opportunity. With assistance from the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation, the company bought Teambank of Kansas in March and Vantus Bank of Iowa in September.

In both deals, Great Southern paid a discounted price for assets and deposits, while the FDIC agreed to cover a majority of losses on assets (80 percent in the Teambank acquisition).

Great Southern is one of a handful of banks that bought failed banks this year with help from the FDIC, after accepting federal bailout money. (Two others are Iberiabank (IBKC) and U.S. Bancorp (USB).)

The economic downturn and the government assistance have meant at least a temporary change in pay for Great Southern’s leadership, which is dominated by the Turner family.

In 2008, president and CEO Joseph W. Turner received $372,863 - a significant drop from the year before when an incentive bonus boosted his compensation to $654,051. According to the company’s most recent proxy statement, however, Turner continues to enjoy a below-market home mortgage through the bank. He owed nearly $719,000 at the end last year.

His father, William V. Turner, received $415,056 as the chairman of Great Southern. William Turner has been with the bank for 24 years. His pay package covers flights on the company aircraft and tickets to sporting events. However, it no longer includes use of a bank-owned lake home and boat. The company sold the lake home in 2008 and the boat in 2009.

A third family member - Julie Turner Brown, daughter of William and sister of Joseph - sits on the company board of directors. She is an attorney with the Springfield law firm of Carnahan, Evans, Cantwell and Brown, which provides legal services to Great Southern.

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