A Missouri-based banking company is spreading its wings into a second branch of the military.

Kansas City's Dickinson Financial Corp., which already owns Army National Bank, last month announced plans to acquire a majority stake in Air Academy National Bancorp, Colorado Springs.

Terms were not disclosed, but the deal for Air Academy, which serves the U.S. Air Force Academy in Colorado, would expand Dickinson's unusual military-banking niche.

Dickinson now has $1.4 billion of assets, including $1.1 billion at its Bank Midwest, which last year became the first banking institution to have branches on both sides of the Kansas City metropolitan area, in Missouri and Kansas.

"It really is a dual strategy," said Dickinson president Paul Shepherd. "We have the nonmilitary strategy and we have the military strategy. On the military side, Air Academy works very well for us. It is the premier Air Force bank, just like Army National is the premier Army bank."

The company has owned $260 million-asset Army National Bank, Fort Leavenworth, Kan., for about 15 years. During that time, it opened new offices at Army posts in Kansas, Missouri, Virginia, and in Colorado not far from Air Academy, Mr. Shepherd said.

"We hope to do the same sort of thing with Air Academy," he said.

In the Air Academy deal, subject to regulatory approval, Dickinson would buy 58% of the stock of $60 million-asset Air Academy National Bank's holding company. The bank, located at the U.S. Air Force Academy, serves Air Force and civilian customers.

"It's a logical extension of their franchise," said analyst Michael Zuk of Fahnestock & Co./B.C. Christopher in Kansas City, Mo.

Mr. Shepherd said Dickinson would consider adding other military branches to its client base but said he wasn't aware of a similar bank the company could acquire that focused primarily on the U.S. Navy or U.S. Marines.

The company has been successful in expanding its military and Kansas City-area businesses, Mr. Zuk said.

"It takes a very focused management to implement these dual strategies," he said. "I would call the company's expansion methodical and disciplined. ... They recognize what they can't do; therefore, they focus and concentrate their activities and efforts on what they can do."

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