Equity’s holding company to merge banks

07/16/2012 5:00 AM

07/18/2012 6:43 AM

Equity Bancshares, a Wichita-based bank holding company, said Monday it will merge Signature Bank into Andover-based Equity Bank.

Equity Bank will be the succeeding institution, the company said Monday.

Signature Bank is based in Haddam, Kan., and has $5.6 million in assets. The bank originally was one of three branches of the former Signature Bank KC.

Equity Bancshares picked up the branches from its 2007 acquisition of Signature Bancshares. It merged Signature branches in Overland Park and Spring Hill, Kan., into Equity Bank and kept the Haddam branch as Signature Bank. Equity planned at the time to sell the Signature operation in Haddam.

But Equity CEO Brad Elliott said efforts to sell the Haddam operation were unsuccessful, he thinks in part because of the economic downturn. A couple of times he said he thought he had a buyer for Signature, but regulators didn’t approve either sale.

“We’ve marketed it now for several years,” he said. “At this time it just creates more efficiencies to merge it.”

Specifically, merging it will reduce the holding company’s expenses and improve its revenue and risk management.

The merger is expected to be complete by the end of the third quarter, following regulatory approval.

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