It’s been nearly 28 years since Southwest National Bank added a new branch without the help of an acquisition or merger.
And 28 years is where the count will stop, because the $444 million, Wichita-based bank has applied with its regulator to open what will be its seventh location, at 8760 W. 21st North.
The branch, located at an end cap of the Tyler Crossing retail center, is currently being used by Sunflower Bank, which opened the space as the Salina-based bank’s first northwest Wichita branch in June 1999. Sunflower announced in January its plans to close the branch in June.
Trish Minard, Southwest’s CEO, said the primary reason for adding a seventh location was to respond to the migration of some of its long-time customers.
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“We’ve had a number of customers that have moved further west,” she said. “We would love to have new customers but our true goal with this branch is to take care of our customers who have moved further out.”
Minard hopes to open the new branch in mid-July.
Southwest is leasing the space from Builders Inc.
The bank has hired Spangenberg Phillips Tice Architecture to improve the look of the branch.
“We intend to make that storefront pop a little bit because it’s hard to see and blends in a little bit,” Minard said.
She said for years the bank’s strategy has been to invest in technology and make it so customers can bank with Southwest National every way it’s technologically possible.
“But it’s time now to provide walk-in facilities for our existing customers,” Minard said.
She said the bank will pursue that same strategy for other parts of the city.
“We will be evaluating a south location and an east location,” Minard said. “It doesn’t mean that I’m going to do it in the next decade.”
The last time Southwest National added a new branch was in 1984, at 225 S. Towne East Mall Drive. Minard was quick to point out that it added two branches when the former Twin Lakes National Bank was merged into Southwest National in October 2004. Both Twin Lakes and Southwest National were owned by the same holding company, Republic Financial Corp.
The bank’s current branch network is in older, established areas of the city, such as downtown, Twin Lakes and Indian Hills.