History of the Kansas Bankers Association
Organized on Feb. 22, 1887, in Topeka, the Kansas Bankers Association was one of the first five state bankers associations in the country. Fifty-six chartered members started the Association. In the early 1920s, as many as 1,300 banks belonged to the Association. But from the end of the decade to the end of the Great Depression, several hundred banks would fail or merge. After World War II, the number of member banks stabilized between 600 and 650. With the onset of the severe recession of the late 1980s, the advent of statewide branching by 1990, and the finance crisis of 2008-2009, charters have dropped steadily.
Throughout the Association’s history, thousands of Kansas bankers have given unselfishly of their time and talents to maintain the viability of the KBA and the banking industry in Kansas. From the Association’s inception, its officers, board and council members have been nominated and elected annually by the membership. Bankers from more than half of the state’s 105 counties have served as KBA chairmen (previously called presidents until 2003). Several banking families have seen two generations of chairmen and one family (the Lulls of Smith Center) has provided three generations of leadership (Floyd E. Lull, 1948–1949; Linton C. Lull, 1979–1980; and Murray D. Lull, 1992–1993). The first female chairman of the association was Kathleen Steward in 2003-2004.
Many Kansas bankers that have led the Association have also held prestigious state and national offices. Two KBA past chairmen have served as governor of Kansas (W.J. Bailey, 1913–1914, from 1903 to 1905; and Ben S. Paulen, 1924–1925, from 1925 to 1929). One had been elected to Congress (Dick Nichols, 1986-1987, from 1986-1990); three have gone on to become chairmen of the American Bankers Association (P.W. Goebel, 1909–1910, from 1916–1917; J. Rex Duwe, 1972–1973, from 1976 to 1977; and Earl McVicker, 2000–2001, from 2006 to 2007). And five past chairmen have served as state bank commissioner (Roy A. Haines, 1939–1940; Emery E. Fager, 1980–1981; W. Newton Male, 1993–1994; Clancy Norris, 1997–1998; and Deryl Schuster, 1986-1987).
Until 1907, volunteer bankers handled the administrative work of the Association. In that year, the Association hired its first full-time secretary, W.W. Bowman. His title was changed to executive vice president in 1931, and he continued in that capacity until his death in 1938. He was succeeded by his son, Fred Bowman, and Fred served as secretary and then executive secretary until he was succeeded by his son, Carl Bowman, in 1961. During Carl’s tenure, the title of the position was changed back to executive vice president. When Carl retired in 1981, Harold Stones became executive vice president and served until his retirement in 1997, after 30 years with the KBA. That same year, Jim Maag took up the position, which was renamed president in 2003. After 25 years with the KBA, Jim retired in November 2004 and on Dec. 1 of that year Chuck Stones became the sixth person to hold the top administrative post of the Association.
The number of individuals working for the Association has increased over the years as more services for banks and bankers, as well as new subsidiaries, have been added. From 1999 to 2002, four subsidiary corporations were created (Kansas Bankers Services Inc., KBA Insurance Inc., Kansas Bankers Educational Foundation and KBA/Hodge & Porter Inc.), each with a banker-based board of directors. In 2011, the KBA established Kansas Bankers Consulting Services to expand the legal offerings to banks. As a result of the tremendous increase in the number of educational, legal, employee benefits and government relations services offered, the size of the KBA staff has increased to over 30. Nearly 7,000 bankers from across the state attend KBA-sponsored events each year.
The KBA has always been located in Topeka since a full-time staff was authorized in 1907. The original office was in the Mulvane Building at Sixth Street and Kansas Avenue before it was moved to the Kansan Hotel in 1924. The office remained there until a move to the new National Bank of Topeka Building in 1932. For the next 37 years, the Association conducted business at that site. In 1969, the offices were moved to the Merchants National Bank Building at Eighth Avenue and Jackson Street and remained there until September 2001, when the Association dedicated its new home at 610 S.W. Corporate View in west Topeka.
Historical data provided by Jim Maag