American State Bancshares in Great Bend, Kan., has taken a small step towards its goal of becoming a $1 billion-asset company.

The $628 million-asset American State has agreed to buy the $57 million-asset First National Bank of Holcomb in Kansas, the Wichita Business Journal reported in its online edition Wednesday.

First National, which has just one branch, would eventually become a branch of the $296 million-asset American State Bank & Trust, the Wichita Business Journal reported. The financial terms of the deal, which is expected to close by the end of the year, were not disclosed.

American State, which is a multibank holding company, is looking to cross the $1 billion threshold by the end of 2016, Don LacKamp, American State 's chief executive said, according to the Wichita Business Journal.

The website reported that First National President Paul Pfeifer had been looking to sell the bank because he and other owners of the bank are aging. Pfeiffer is 69. Rising capital gains taxes and increasing regulation were cited as other factors.

Kansas has become a hotbed of M&A activity this year. Through the first half of the year, Kansas was tied with California for the second-most announced deals, with eight. Texas ranked No. 1, with 14 deals.

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