Mike Babich is back in the business of making commercial loans as a bank officer.
Babich, who spent the last six years working for himself as a commercial lending consultant, has joined Kansas State Bank as a senior vice president and commercial loan officer. He’s also opened an east-side loan office for the Manhattan-based bank, which opened in 2007 a Wichita branch at 1424 S. Maize Road.
Babich, whose 27 years in banking have included stops at Commerce Bank, the former Bank IV and Equity Bank, had been running his own firm, Babich & Associates, since 2005.
“I took your loan request, analyzed your strengths and weaknesses and told your story to three or four banks that I thought were a good fit, and then negotiated (the loan and terms) all the way to closing,” he said Friday.
But he said he had been watching Kansas State Bank closely since Tim McGuigan joined it. McGuigan, whom Babich had worked with early in his banking career, was found shot to death in his home in September.
“Tim coming to this bank got my attention,” Babich said. “I knew something good must be going on.”
Babich said what sealed the decision to leave his company and join Kansas State came after he met with the bank’s president, Mike Daniels, who grew up in Wichita but now lives in Manhattan.
“It was really a combination of Mike Daniels and the bank’s success under his leadership and the vision he has for the bank going forward,” Babich said.
He said the bank is large enough – $739 million in assets – to do loan deals up to $10 million, but small enough to act quickly on them.
Babich is one of two people working out of the bank’s new lending office, which is at 3450 N. Rock, Suite 301B. He said the bank plans to add mortgage officers at the east office.
He is one of two Wichita-based commercial lending officers for the bank. The other is Jim Ashcraft, who works out of the bank’s west-side branch.
For the past three years, Babich said he’s seen a lot of struggling companies. But he’s also seen creative and resourceful business owners who have responded to the tough economy. Such an environment helps him determine what company is a good loan risk.
“This is a good time to lend money because I’m going to find out how well you manage your business,” he said.