Bank of America to sell 11 Kansas branches

04/29/2014 9:32 AM

04/29/2014 6:10 PM

Bank of America is continuing to reduce its branch footprint in Kansas, but this time around it’s selling, rather than closing, nearly half a dozen branches scattered throughout the state.

The banking giant is selling branches in Caney, Coffeyville, Emporia, Great Bend, Hays, Hutchinson, Independence, Lindsborg, McPherson and Salina. Two of the branches are in Great Bend.

“We constantly adapt our banking center network to fit customers’ changing needs and habits,” said Bank of America spokeswoman Diane Wagner, in an e-mail to The Eagle. “That includes consolidating centers where we have overlap; investing in new centers where there’s a high growth opportunity; and, in select instances, selling some centers when an outright closure would leave associates with few employment opportunities, and customers with no convenient banking center.”

The branches are being sold to four Kansas-based banks: Lyon County State Bank in Emporia; Commercial Bank in Parsons; First Kansas Bank in Hoisington; and First Bank Kansas in Salina.

Commercial Bank has $243 million in assets and is acquiring the Caney, Coffeyville and Independence branches.

The three other acquiring banks are owned by Salina-based Ottawa Bancshares, a $488 million-asset bank holding company.

The sales are expected to close this summer, following regulatory approvals.

“The decision to sell these locations to a community bank, rather than closing them, was made to preserve as many jobs as possible and to ensure that these communities will continue to be served with convenient local branches,” Wagner, of Bank of America, said in the e-mail.

The sales will bring Bank of America’s branch count to 40 in Kansas. That compares with 59 branches in Kansas five years ago, and 63 in the state 10 years ago, according to information from the Federal Deposit Insurance Corp.

Up until now, almost all of the Charlotte, N.C.-based bank’s branch shedding has been done by closing branches, including in the Wichita area. In the past 10 years, Bank of America’s branch count locally has dropped from 18 to 13, according to the FDIC. And the current number doesn’t include the branch it plans to close at 100 N. Broadway, in its namesake downtown building, where it also is reducing its office space from 50,000 square feet to 12,000.

In the fall of 2011, the $1.4 trillion-asset bank announced a plan it called “Project New BAC,” which included a management reorganization that removed a layer of management as well as plans to eliminate about 30,000 jobs over “a few years.” The bank said the plan was expected to reduce its expenses by $5 billion a year by 2014 and make it a leaner and more efficient company.

Bank of America entered Kansas through its 1998 merger with NationsBank, which through an earlier acquisition had acquired the former Wichita-based Bank IV.

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