Fast-growing Gold Banc Corp. disclosed last week that it plans to take a fourth-quarter charge of at least $3 million and will cut its mortgage banking staff by one-third.

The Leawood, Kan., company said its planned after-tax charge is related to previously announced plans to consolidate the charters of its eight Kansas banks. Gold Banc expects to more than double its asset size, to $2.8 billion, through deals to be completed in the first half.

Gold Banc said the charge and its underperforming mortgage business would reduce the fourth-quarter earnings it could report to 18 to 20 cents per share. The consensus of analysts surveyed by First Call/Thomson Financial before the announcement was that Gold Banc would report a profit of 23 cents per share.

The company said it expects the charter consolidation to save it $1.3 million to $2 million during the next 18 months.

"The consolidation positions Gold Banc for improved efficiency and profitability," chairman and chief executive officer Michael W. Gullion said in a press release. "We emerge better positioned to pass on the savings of a reduced cost structure."

The company did not specify how many people would be laid off in the mortgage business, and officials did not return phone calls seeking further comment. Gold Banc said it plans to restructure the free-standing business, Regional Holding Co. of Kansas City, Mo., as a subsidiary of its banking operation. Gold bought Regional in July.

Anthony Polini, a banking analyst at Advest Group in New York, attributed Gold Banc's mortgage woes to sluggishness in the home lending sector. He had expected the business to contribute 2 cents to Gold's fourth-quarter earnings per share but now expects it to account for a 2-cent loss.

"Hindsight is 20-20," Mr. Polini said. "If they could do it all over again, they might not have bought" Regional Holding. "At least they've acted decisively so that they don't undermine their earnings growth going forward."

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