Hillcrest Bancshares has agreed to buy American Bank of Wichita, Kan., for an undisclosed sum.

The deal would expand $456 million-asset Hillcrest's reach beyond the Kansas City metropolitan area into such southern Kansas cities such as Wichita, Harper, and Maysfield. Hillcrest is the holding company for Hillcrest Bank.

Pat Regan, American Bank's president and chief executive officer, would assume a senior-level position at Hillcrest once the merger is completed in the third quarter.

American Bank, with $270 million of assets, posted a $6.9 million loss in 1998 due to bad loans and tax-related writeoffs.

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