Archive for Thursday, May 9, 2002

Bankers bullish on prospects for additional growth in county

May 9, 2002

Area bank executives remain bullish on Southern Leavenworth County.

"We're just really excited about all of the growth, especially in the Basehor area," said Debra Breuer, manager of Community National Bank's new branch in Basehor.

The 14-year-old bank is based in Seneca and has branches in Tonganoxie and Basehor.

Breuer said that several new residential developments, including Falcon Ridge and Prairie Gardens, are well under way.

"The town's going to explode," she said. "They're ready for some commercial development. I think it's finally Basehor's turn. We're excited to be a part of it."

David Hoppes, president and CEO of Mutual Savings, shares Breuer's enthusiasm about the county.

"The growth has been phenomenal in some areas," he said. "There have been ups and downs, but the strong fundamentals are still there. Some of the same challenges exist making sure our infrastructure can keep up and that we do good planning and we make sure the growth is in everybody's best interest and makes sense for the area."

Mutual, which is based in Leavenworth and operates a branch there, has branches in downtown Tonganoxie, Bonner Springs, Oskaloosa and Eudora.

Hoppes recently took an airplane ride over portions of Leavenworth County.

"It's just amazing how our county is changing, and the amount of development in the county," he said. "It's pretty impressive and it will continue."

Bill New, the chairman of the board of First State Bank and Trust, believes building activity will continue in both Tonganoxie and Basehor.

"I'm really optimistic about the area," he said. "I think it will continue to grow and do well. I think probably the growth will come maybe even faster than we're prepared for at times."

First State Bank operates two sites in Tonganoxie one downtown; the other on U.S. Highway 24-40 as well as two branches in Lawrence. In addition, the company operates branches in Basehor, Wichita and Clearwater. And the bank recently announced its plans to purchase the Bank of Perry, a 109-year-old family owned bank. That acquisition should be finalized this summer, following review by state and federal regulatory agencies.

In addition, the bank is developing a commercial subdivision adjacent to its highway bank in Tonganoxie.

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