The chairman of First National Bank of Santa Fe has accepted additional duties ahead of the bank's upcoming merger.

William "Pablo" Sanders, the $1.7 billion-asset bank's chairman, was given the additional titles of president and chief executive on Thursday. The positions became vacant after John Asbury resigned on Wednesday. Sanders' appointment was first reported by Albuquerque Business First.

Asbury resigned to pursue another career opportunity and his departure was unrelated to the pending merger, a bank spokeswoman said. Asbury had worked at First National Bank since March 2015.

First National Bank's holding company, Strategic Growth Bancorp in El Paso, Texas, in July agreed to merge with the $1.8 billion-asset Sunflower Financial in Salina, Kan. The deal is expected to close in the first quarter. Sanders will become chief operating officer of the new company. His father, Bill Sanders, will be co-chairman of the new company along with Sunflower CEO Mollie Hale Carter.

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