Further expanding its western Kansas base, Fourth Financial Corp. made a move into Hutchinson, acquiring a $260 million-asset bank from Emprise Financial Corp.

The Wichita-based holding company said it would pay an undisclosed amount of cash for the Emprise bank unit. The Hutchinson bank is one of six that Emprise owns. The holding company has $743 million in bank assets.

Reaching $5.2 Billion of Assets

The deal, announced late Friday, is an expansion into new markets for Kansas' largest bank company at a time when Fourth Financial is best known for its rapid growth into neighboring Oklahoma and Missouri.

Through its Bank IV subsidiary, Fourth will gain access to western Kansas communities including Hutchinson, Garden City, Iuka, Lindsborg, Meade, and Pratt. Once completed, the Emprise deal will give Bank IV-Kansas a $5.2 billion-asset base.

"We are now in most parts of the state," said Michael J. Shonka, chief financial officer at Fourth Financial, which has 109 offices and $6.1 billion in total assets.

He said the deal should be completed next spring and could add to third-quarter 104 earnings. However, Mr. Shonka declined to estimate how large that contribution or how much back-office savings could be.

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