KC group envisions marrying fintech with community banking to build a powerhouse

by James Dornbrook, Kansas City Business Journal

March 18, 2021

A community bank founded 120 years ago in rural Kansas may be one of the last places that comes to mind when discussing cutting-edge financial technology. But a team of experienced Kansas City bankers aims to change that perception.

Last year, a group led by former Merit Bank CEO Mark Emley acquired Kendall State Bank in Valley Falls, Kansas, a city of about 1,100 people about a 30-minute drive north of Topeka. With only about $52 million in assets, it’s the third-smallest bank in the metro area.

Its owners don’t expect that ranking to last long. The plan is to supercharge this little community bank with financial technology to transform it into a fast-growing powerhouse — and potentially change community banking forever.