Longtime Capitol Federal branch moves out of 11th and Vermont building as part of merger
photo by: Chad Lawhorn
If you are old enough, there was a time when a trip to the bank was at least a weekly event. As a tag-along kid, I got discs of gum wrapped to look like silver dollars from the tellers. (That’s the No. 1 reason I never became a coin collector. I chipped too many teeth hoping to find gum.) Well, a downtown bank branch that evoked memories of that era has closed.
The old Capitol Federal branch at 11th and Vermont streets closed recently, which has sparked questions about what will happen to the unique building. The short answer is that Capitol Federal will continue to own the 1950s-era building, but it doesn’t yet know what it will do with it.
Capitol Federal, of course, is still going strong. The bank closed the branch as part of its merger with Topeka-based Capital City Bank. Capital City Bank already had a large and relatively new branch in downtown Lawrence at Eighth and New Hampshire streets. Capitol Federal is moving the functions of the Vermont Street branch into the New Hampshire Street building.
photo by: Nick Gerik
In fact, some construction work has been underway at the New Hampshire location. Tom Hagen, a spokesman for Capitol Federal, said the New Hampshire Street branch would become a full-service CapFed branch, including a 24-hour walk-up ATM and safety deposit boxes. The branch, which is on the ground floor of the Hobbs Taylor Lofts building, also will add expanded banking hours. Lobby hours will be 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Friday and 9 a.m. to noon on Saturdays. Drive-thru hours will be 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. on weekdays and 8:30 a.m. to noon on Saturdays.
If you have forgotten, Capitol Federal acquired Capital City Bank as part of a $37.5 million deal in April 2018. It has taken nearly a year, though, for the merger to work its way through all the processes. Today actually marks the official date of “full integration” between Capital City Bank and Capitol Federal, Hagen said. I don’t know if that means all the bubble gum has been moved, but Hagen made it sound like it was a pretty good milestone. I think primarily it involved technology issues that now allow former Capital City customers to use all the online banking resources offered by Capitol Federal.
The merger is expected to be a big deal for Capitol Federal in the long run. It allows Capitol Federal — which, with about $9 billion in assets and a listing on the Nasdaq exchange, is one of the largest financial institutions based in Kansas — to get into at least two new lines of business. The merger will allow Capitol Federal to become much more of a player in the commercial lending business and also the trust services market, which involves offering money management services for individuals and organizations.
John B. Dicus, chief executive officer of Capitol Federal, touted the new services in a statement on the merger, saying he expected Capitol Federal would start handling the banking needs of many more commercial businesses.
“We’re excited about the combination, especially for us to enter into the commercial banking business, something that we’ve started to do a little bit over the last three or four years in commercial real estate,” Dicus said. “We have strictly been a single-family residential lender and then focusing on retail deposits. Now we’ll be able to go out in the business community and work with the businesses for their loans, but also then be able to serve their deposit needs.”
As for the old branch on Vermont Street, we’ll have to keep our eyes open on whether a new use is found for it. It is a neat old building that features some brick and limestone architecture. It was built in 1953, and does hold a special place in Capitol Federal history. It was the first Capitol Federal branch constructed outside of Topeka, which is the company’s corporate headquarters.
With the change, Capitol Federal now has five branches in Lawrence. It has about 60 across the state, and Hagen said the bank now employed a total of about 750 people companywide.