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Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Equity Bank buys Lee’s Summit-based bank

By Jerry Siebenmark
The Wichita Eagle

Wichita will have another billion-dollar bank once regulators approve a merger between Equity Bank and First Community Bank in Lee’s Summit, Mo.

On Tuesday the banks, each of which has about $600 million in assets, announced the merger that will leave Andover-based Equity the succeeding institution, with $1.3 billion in assets and 30 bank offices in two states.

Financial terms of the transaction, expected to close in the fourth quarter, were not disclosed.

“It gives us the ability to offer some different products and services, long term, as we become a larger institution,” Equity CEO Brad Elliott said Tuesday. “It gives us some additional scale to move to the next level in our banking relationships.”

The merger includes the banks’ holding companies, Wichita-based Equity Bancshares and Overland Park-based First Community Bancshares.

First Community has 16 bank offices in Missouri — including five in the Kansas City area — and two in Kansas: Overland Park and De Soto.

Equity has one office in Missouri — Lee’s Summit — and 13 in Kansas, including seven in the Kansas City area.

Elliott said there is no overlap between Equity’s and First Community’s Kansas City area branches, so he doesn’t expect consolidation.

The deal is consistent with Equity’s plans to look for acquisitions, which Elliott discussed last week when the bank announced it had raised $20 million in new capital from private investors.

But this particular deal was more than a year in the making.

“We have been talking to them about the possibility of doing something together for about 12 to 18 months and it just worked out,” Elliott said.

First Community’s chairman and CEO, Jack Fields, will join Equity as an executive vice president. Elliott said Fields will help in “driving sales” for the bank and to help in the integration of the two operations.

“Brad and his team have a vision for growth that will benefit our customers, our shareholders and the communities First Community Bank services,” Fields said.

Reach Jerry Siebenmark at 316-268-6576 or

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