Equity Bancshares in Wichita, Kan., has filled its tank to fuel growth.

The $600 million-asset company raised $20.4 million in capital that it plans to use for acquisitions and organic growth, according to a story Friday's online edition of the Kansas City Business Journal.

"This capital raise represents an important cornerstone of what we have been able to achieve since starting the company in 2003," said Brad Elliott, chief executive in a release cited by the publication. "Specifically, we remain focused on maintaining capital strength while executing against our growth strategy of organic growth and synergist acquisitions. This strategy has enabled us to grow from a $30 million bank with two branches to $600 million in assets and 14 locations in just over eight years."

A call to the company was not immediately returned. The company operates the $594 million-asset Equity Bank in Andover, Kan., and the $5.6 million-asset Signature Bank in Haddam, Kan.

Equity was already highly capitalized; at March 31, its total risk-based capital ratio was 17.87%, according to the Federal Deposit Insurance Corp. The company's credit issues are relatively small, with nonperforming assets making up 1.65% of total assets. That is down five basis points from a year earlier.

More than 70% of the capital raised came from current investors, the Business Journal reported. In a May 29 filing with Securities and Exchange Commission shows several of the company's executives and directors participated in the raise.

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