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Bank SNB branch sale means first Kansas City office for Fidelity Bank

  • The Wichita Eagle
  • Published Friday, Jan. 17, 2014, at 9:16 a.m.

Bank SNB is selling branches in Anthony, Harper and Overland Park, allowing a Wichita-based institution to expand into a new metro area.

Bank SNB said it will sell its Anthony and Harper branches to BancCentral of Alva, Okla., and its Overland Park branch to Fidelity Bank.

Financial terms of the transactions, expected to close in the second quarter of 2014, were not disclosed.

Bank SNB, based in Stillwater, Okla., said it will maintain its branches in Wichita, Hutchinson and South Hutchinson.

“A strategic evaluation of where to best invest our capital and resources found Hutchinson, South Hutchinson and Wichita better fit our product lines in Kansas, along with our banking offices in Oklahoma and Texas,” Mark Funke, CEO of Bank SNB’s parent, Southwest Bancorp, said in a news release late Thursday. “…We have no plans to divest of any other banking offices at this time, and will focus on growing our presence in the other markets in which we operate.”

Bank SNB’s branches in Anthony and Harper have combined deposits of $123 million. The Overland Park branch has $11 million in deposits.

Fidelity and Bank SNB officials said that the affected branches are expected to retain their current employees.

Funke said in an interview that Pat Gearhart, Bank SNB’s top executive in Wichita, will have additional oversight as Kansas market leader once the sale of the branches is complete.

“He’ll run our Kansas market,” Funke said.

Funke also wanted to emphasize that Thursday’s announcement was not a precursor to the bank leaving Kansas altogether.

“We are absolutely not exiting Kansas,” he said, adding that Wichita, Hutchinson and South Hutchinson are “markets we can grow in.”

Fidelity chairman and CEO Clark Bastian said the Overland Park branch acquisition “represents a new growth frontier for us.”

The branch, at 14435 Metcalf Ave., will be Fidelity’s first in the Kansas City area.

Fidelity, which has $1.5 billion in assets, operates 16 branches in the Wichita area and six in the Oklahoma City area.

Bastian said in an interview that 10 years ago this month, Fidelity expanded into Oklahoma City through the acquisition of a bank there that had one office and $28 million in deposits.

“Today we have six locations, $200 million in deposits and $300 million in loans (in Oklahoma City),” Bastian said. “We’re pretty proud of that. The timing of this is really good, and we hope we can have success in the Johnson County market, as well.”

Bastian added that Fidelity did not approach the Bank SNB deal with the idea that, long term, it would be comfortable operating a single branch facility in the Kansas City area. “We plan to be aggressive,” he said.

Fidelity and Bank SNB said that the affected branches are expected to retain their current employees.

Fidelity president John Laisle said for now, the Overland Park branch will likely be operated as an extension of its Wichita operations.

“But as it (the market) grows, obviously it will grow into having its own (market leadership) structure,” Laisle said.

Reach Jerry Siebenmark at 316-268-6576 or jsiebenmark@wichitaeagle.com. Follow him on Twitter: @jsiebenmark.

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