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2020 In-House Counsel Awards: Gregory Omer

Private company with more than $500 million in annual revenue

Executive Vice President, Corporate Secretary and General Counsel, Central Bancompany

Gregory OmerDuring the course of his 30-year legal career, Greg Omer has witnessed many developments in financial law.

From the savings and loan crisis of the late 1980s and early 1990s to the dot-com bubble and then the Great Recession, Omer has watched numerous laws surrounding the financial industry come into being, which he said has kept him interested and engaged in the practice through the years.

“It’s an exciting field, and it changes constantly, and it’s certainly in the forefront of what’s happening in the country,” he said.

For the past year and a half, Omer has served as the top legal officer of Central Bancompany in Jefferson City. He advises the company about legal issues that arise day to day — a mix of banking law, corporate law, corporate governance, securities and mergers and acquisitions.

The role meant a return of sorts for the mid-Missouri native: Omer grew up in Salisbury and moved to Jefferson City, where he attended high school, from a previous position in St. Louis.

Omer’s journey to becoming a lawyer began at the Missouri School of Journalism at the University of Missouri, where a communications law class piqued his interest. As a Jefferson City resident, he also was interested in state government, and he saw a legal career as a way to make a difference, he said.

He earned his law degree from Duke University in 1990. After graduation, he joined Gallop, Johnson & Neuman in St. Louis, where he focused his practice on banking, corporate law and M&A work.

In 1994, he left to become chief counsel of the newly established Missouri Gaming Commission. He spent five years there, and he helped to put together the initial rules and regulations governing the gaming industry.

In addition to the commission’s subject matter, it offered a unique opportunity, he said.

“You don’t get to be on the ground floor of a new state agency very often,” he said.

In 1999, he moved to the Missouri Division of Finance, where he served for two years. He left to join Stinson, where he worked until moving to Thompson Coburn in 2005.

Omer was a partner there for 14 years before the opportunity to work for Central Bancompany arose. He’d had a long-running relationship with the company as outside counsel, and he said he relished the chance to work for a company he respected.

“I really like the feeling that I’m part of the management group here, helping to play a role in making the organization as good as it can be and serving our customers the best we can,” he said. “I have a role to play, and that’s a very positive part of what we do here.”

Omer frequently writes and speaks to groups about banking law. He is active in the Missouri Bankers Association and has chaired the American Bar Association’s Banking Law group.

Outside of his practice, he enjoys playing guitar and has played in a bluegrass band. He also has been active in organizations serving youth. While still in St. Louis, he helped to form and advised the Bailey Youth Enrichment Foundation.