Archive for Saturday, October 1, 2005

Lawrence Bank buyers include developer

October 1, 2005


A Lawrence-grown bank is about to get new owners.

Lawrence Bank, with branches in southwest and downtown Lawrence, is being sold to a holding company that includes Doug Compton, a Lawrence-based developer and property manager.

The sale, expected to close by the end of the year, awaits regulatory approval. Officials intend to file applications with state and federal regulators early next week.

Terry Sutcliffe, the bank's president, chief executive officer, founder and co-owner, said that he would remain as the bank's top executive after the sale.

Terms of the stock sale were not disclosed, but Sutcliffe said that customers wouldn't notice any change in the bank's approach, operations or financial standing.

"It's business as usual," Sutcliffe said Friday. "There will be no noticeable difference in the way things are done. Some of the banks in Lawrence say, 'Banking Unusual.' We say, 'Banking Usual.' It's usual banking - no change in hours. Everything will remain the same."

The bank's current holding company, First Bancshares of Kansas City, Kan., is owned by Sutcliffe and two investors from the Kansas City area. The holding company also owns First State Bank in Kansas City, Kan., which is not being sold as part of the Lawrence Bank transaction.

Sutcliffe said that he was unsure whether he would have any ownership in First Financial Bancshares Inc., the holding company that is buying the bank he founded in Lawrence five years ago.

The new owners are buying the bank as an investment, he said.

"They came and talked to us and wanted to know if we'd sell the bank," Sutcliffe said. "I might have an investment in it. I don't know. : They just asked me if I wanted a job, and the job is being the president. And I said, 'Yes, I do.' "

Sutcliffe acknowledged that Compton was among members of First Financial Bancshares. Sutcliffe said he did not know who the other members of the group were.

Compton, owner of First Management Inc. and a partner in other development and property-ownership groups, has denied having any involvement in the bank acquisition. Earlier this week he denied knowing whether anyone - in town or otherwise - was even contemplating a purchase of Lawrence Bank.

"I don't have a clue," Compton said.

Lawrence Bank has two locations in Lawrence: 3500 Clinton Parkway and 110 E. Ninth St.

Sutcliffe said that the pending sale involved the bank's real estate. First Financial Bancshares is buying the real estate from a partnership separate from the bank's current holding company.

Lawrence Bank has $35 million in assets and $3.8 million in capital, Sutcliffe said.

Sutcliffe established Lawrence Bank in 2000. He has worked in banking in Lawrence since 1981, previously serving as president of Lawrence National Bank & Trust Co. and later as executive vice president of Mercantile Bank.


Richard Heckler 12 years, 6 months ago

Why would Doug Compton lie about not knowing?

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