The area’s credit unions continued to grow assets while banks improved their loan quality and began to record earnings gains in 2012.
Throughout 2012 Kansas-chartered credit unions posted year-over-year gains in loan and asset growth while area banks saw earnings improve by double-digit percentages from the year before. Banks also saw a decline in the amount of bad loans on their books.
There were a couple of acquisitions by area banks — including First National Bank of Hutchinson’s acquisition of First National Bank of Southern Kansas in Mount Hope and Equity Bank’s acquisition of First Community Bank in Lee’s Summit, Mo. — and the entry of another, CrossFirst of Leawood, which opened a Wichita branch in January. Bank of America, the largest national bank operating in Wichita, continued trimming its area offices by closing branches in Augusta and El Dorado.
Credit Union of America wrapped up its acquisition of First Choice Credit Union. And Meritrust Credit Union, the state’s largest credit union, began a search for a new chief executive after Bob Corwin resigned to take a credit union CEO job in his home state of Oregon.
Bankers and credit unions expect their businesses to get more competitive in 2013. The competition will likely be the most intense among banks, as continued tight margins and lackluster gains in investment income prompt them to make up earnings by seeking more loans.
“The competition for bank clients is going to continue to elevate,” said David Harris, CEO of RelianzBank.