GIRARD — Two of Girard’s most historic institutions plan to merge in 2019.
An agreement has been reached for First National Bank of Girard to merge into GNBank (formerly Girard National Bank), pending regulatory and shareholder approval. The merger will be conducted as a cash transaction and is expected to close in Spring of 2019.
“This agreement is good for our community, our customers and our employees,” Jerome Beezley, First National Bank Chairman, said.
Mark Schifferdecker, GNBank President and CEO, said the two banks share similar ideologies.
“We know each other well,” he said. “We have a common philosophy in serving our customers in a smaller market like Girard. By putting our resources together, we’re hoping to provide world-class service for Crawford County.”
GNBank has locations in Girard, Pittsburg, Arma, Galena and Yates Center, to name a few. Representatives from both banks cite location along with uniformity and efficiency as key elements in the success of the merger.
“We are pleased that our mutual customers will be able to access our banking services from any of our locations,” Schifferdecker continued.
Beezley agreed shared resources would benefit the community.
“Combining the resources of these two solid community banks will ensure a continued commitment to local banking and reinvestment in the community we have served for the past 140 years,” he said.
Schifferdecker said no locations will be consolidated in the merger and that no layoffs or terminations are anticipated.
“People are important, especially in small towns,” he said. “We have a lot of really tenured people in our bank and FNB does, too. Layoffs and terminations are not the intent at all.”
To the contrary, Schifferdecker suggests the merger will provide more opportunities for employees to grow within the company.
“What we learned when we acquired University Bank in Pittsburg is that mergers provide a great opportunity for people to grow and take on more responsibility internally,” he said.
Both banks were founded by Girard residents over a century ago, First National Bank in 1878 and GNBank in 1918, and have remained locally owned and operated ever since. GNBank has approximately $635 million in assets and boasts fifteen locations throughout Kansas and eastern Colorado. First National Bank has approximately $80 million in assets.
Given the size of the market, Schifferdecker said they looked carefully at the merger in light of competition law.
“It was one of the very first things we checked on,” he said. “The federal regulators look at competitiveness factors very carefully in the city, the county and the entire region. If we were in a smaller county out in western Kansas it might be different, but Crawford County and even Girard have quite a few financial institutions.”
First National Bank president John Lehman said customers will benefit from larger lending limits, financial strength and organizational size.
“I look forward to extending to our existing customers all the benefits this merger will offer while continuing to provide the personalized service they have always received at First National Bank,” he said.
Schifferdecker commended First National Bank for their history of excellence.
“We’re honored,” he said. “They’re a fine institution and we’re excited to get to work together with them and their customers.”