Business

First State Bank branch closing

Wichita banks will have one less competitor in May as First State Bank & Trust plans to close its sole west-side branch.

Officials of the Tonganoxie-based bank said the last day of business for the Wichita branch at 11931 W. Central will be May 14.

The deposits of customers who choose to remain with the bank will be serviced by First State's Clearwater branch.

Jilinda White, executive vice president of the $321 million bank, said a variety of factors led to the decision to close the branch, which First State established in 2001.

White said the branch's lease was up "and like many businesses there comes a point where you decide what's working for you and what isn't... and where expenses might be reduced."

She said the closure will affect five full-time employees and one part-time worker. A sixth full-time employee will be transferred to the bank's Clearwater branch.

Marc Howell, Wichita branch manager, deferred comment on the closing to White.

White also said that the branch hadn't reached the amount of deposits that bank officials hoped for.

According to Federal Deposit Insurance Corp. data, the branch had grown from $6.8 million in deposits in 2005 to $14.3 million in 2009.

She said First State's ideal deposit total for a stand-alone branch is between $25 million and $30 million.

The bank had also tried to sell the branch, which she said would have been the best option for its Wichita customers and staff.

"We worked for several months... and we just didn't come up with (a buyer)," White said.

First State is the second bank in the past couple of years to shutter a Wichita branch. In 2008, Haven-based BankHaven closed its 13th-and-Tyler branch.

Jane Deterding, executive vice president of Citizens Bank of Kansas, which purchased BankHaven's Wichita building, said First State's branch closing reflects just how competitive it is for banks in Wichita.

"It is terribly, terribly competitive out here," Deterding said.

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