Financial Corp. of Tulsa, Okla., and some of its top shareholders plan to sell five million shares by yearend.

The sale would raise about $115 million and free up roughly 11% of BOK's shares. The plan was revealed in a recent filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission.

By putting the stock in the hands of more shareholders, observers said, BOK could become an even more attractive merger partner for smaller banks.

This may increase BOK's ability to do acquisitions,'' said David E. Mudd, a bank analyst at Howe Barnes Investments in Chicago The liquidity of their stock has been a hindrance in the past.''

Acquiring banks usually prefer to issue stock rather than pay cash for acquisitions so they will not have to dip into capital. Also, most sellers prefer to be paid with stock because it can delay payment on capital gains taxes.

Of the 57 bank mergers announced in the second quarter, 32 involved stock swaps.

BOK, with $8 billion of assets, intends to issue about two million shares. Chairman George B. Kaiser, who controls 75% of the company's outstanding stock, and other insiders plan to sell three million shares. The shares will be sold for $23.

The company holds the top deposit market share in Oklahoma and operates four subsidiary banks in Arkansas, Texas, and New Mexico.

It paid cash for three banks it acquired in the Dallas-Fort Worth area this year and exchanged $60 million of its stock for another bank in Oklahoma.

James White, chief financial officer at BOK, said the stock sale should lead to more trading activity, which he hopes would raise BOK's profile on Wall Street.

We want to build a viable public float and gain more market recognition,'' he said.

The sale will be underwritten by Morgan Stanley Dean Witter.

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