Bank to build new facility in Salina, Kansas

When Bank VI opened in a leased office in December 2005, Tom Wilbur said the goal was to build a permanent home within three years.

Mission accomplished.

The bank plans a ground-breaking ceremony at 9:30 a.m. Friday at 1900 S. Ohio to celebrate the upcoming construction of the $3.5 million Bank VI headquarters.

"We hope to see contractors out there starting to move dirt pretty darn soon," said Wilbur, the Bank VI chairman. He shares the chief executive officer tag with Bank VI President Alan Eichelberger.

Within a year, weather permitting, the bank will move into the new building at 1900 S. Ohio, 1/2 block north of its present location at 2020 S. Ohio, in the Dillons Southgate complex.

The decision to build close by was made by customers who enjoyed the convenience of the South Ohio area, Wilbur said.

Bank VI, currently with 17 employees, will move from 5,000 square feet to 16,000 square feet of office space. The larger building will allow the bank to offer new services, such as drive-through banking, full vault services including safe deposit boxes and a drive-up ATM.

The energy efficient building designed by Jones Gillam Renz Architects Engineers, 730 N. Ninth, features reflective glass.

The contractor is Busboom and Rauh Construction.

Looking ahead, Wilbur said Bank VI plans to establish more branches around the state.

The new building is the "next step" to Bank VI solidifying its presence in Salina and central Kansas, said Daran Neuschafer, a member of the bank's board of directors and president of the Daran Neuschafer Agency of American Family Insurance, 1528 E. Iron.

Wilbur said he's proud of the bank's growth from $4.7 million in assets when its holding company, Sixth Bancshares, acquired Citizens State Bank of Geneseo in August 2005, to $92 million in assets today. Citizens State Bank continues to operate as a branch of Bank VI in Geneseo, 25 miles west of Lindsborg, with three employees.

The average bank in Kansas has approximately $50 million in assets, Wilbur said.

"Clearly we've been one of the faster-growing banks in the state," Wilbur said. "To be able to eclipse ($50 million) in less than three years, we're very excited to be able to grow to that extent."

Experience was a key to the growth, he said. Eichelberger has nearly 30 years of banking experience in Salina and Wilbur has 25, and several other members of the staff have between five and 40 years of experience.

"I think the relationships that our banking team has built over a good number of years in Salina have positioned us to be able to build this new facility and move forward," Wilbur said. "We have an outstanding group of people that we get a chance to work with every day at the bank."

The staff and leadership were important from the outset, Neuschafer said.

"As a board member, I personally was very excited with the talent base that Tom and Al were able to assemble," he said.

"We have high expectations for our employees, but we also have lots of confidence that they will meet and exceed those expectations."

While Bank VI intends to grow, Wilbur said, Salina will continue to be its home.

"The long-term prospects for that is we will continue to have a need to hire more people in the Salina office to accommodate that growth," he said.

CREDIT: Salina Journal