The Oklahoma Development Finance Authority was originally created as a public trust for the benefit of the State of Oklahoma in 1974, under provisions of the Public Trust Act (Title 60 Oklahoma Statutes, 1991 § 176 et seq.). Subsequently, the role of the Authority was further clarified and expanded in 1987 with the adoption of the Oklahoma Development Finance Authority Act (Title 74 Oklahoma Statutes, 1991 § 5062.1 et seq.).
ODFA functions under the direction of a seven-member Board of Directors. The Governor appoints six members who are subject to the advice and consent of the Senate, for overlapping six-year terms. Of these six appointees, no two can be from the same congressional district, at least five must be from the financial community and have at least 15 years of experience. The remaining member of these six is an at-large, recognized businessperson in the state of Oklahoma. The Director of the Oklahoma Department of Commerce is an ex-officio voting member. Only the Board of Directors has the authority to approve or deny projects. The day-to-day management of the ODFA is vested in the president who is appointed by the Board of Directors of the Authority.
The ODFA is self-supporting and pays operating costs and covers losses with revenues generated by operations. The Authority has never received appropriated funds from the state nor has any taxpayer generated money, of any kind, been tapped for operations or losses. This makes the Authority unique among economic development lenders throughout the United States.