King Bancshares in in Kingman, Kan., has merged its consumer finance unit into its bank.

The company said in a press release that it had combined Western Credit and Citizens Bank of Kansas. Western Credit's two Kansas offices, in Wichita and Salina, are now operating as part of the $217 million-asset Citizens Bank and should start offering retail services by January.

"This transaction has been in the works for a long time," Mark Keeny, chief executive of Citizens Bank, said in the release. "It made sense to us for a variety of reasons, but we had to work with several regulatory agencies to make it happen. We are all very pleased to finally announce the successful merger of our companies, which we believe will ultimately result in improved financial services for Western Credit customers and other under-banked Kansans."

Western Credit was formed in 1997 with a single office in El Dorado, Kan. The unit has a $6 million loan portfolio at the time of the merger.

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