Wichita, KS, January 26, 2017 — (NASDAQ:EQBK), the Wichita-based holding company of Equity Bank, has announced the addition of a President to oversee the operating function, lending and strategy of Equity Bank throughout its 34 branches. Wendell Bontrager will join Equity on February 20, 2017. Bontrager most recently served as Region President for Old National Bank in Fort Wayne, Indiana. Bontrager will report to Equity’s Chairman and CEO, Brad Elliott, who attributes the addition of a bank president to the Company’s continued growth.
“Wendell is a great fit strategically for Equity Bank, and is also a key fit within our Company’s culture and future plans. We expect that Wendell will be a tremendous resource as we continue to grow from a $2 billion bank,” said Elliott. “We’re at the point in our organization that merits the addition of a strong leader to help us continue our path of organic growth, and managing the newly merged companies into our organic growth platform. Wendell has worked for financial institutions large and small, helping banks define competitive strategies, develop customers, and navigate business combinations. He’ll be a great fit for Equity Bank.”
Mr. Elliott will continue to serve as the Chairman of the Board of Directors and CEO of both Equity Bank and Equity Bancshares, Inc.
Mr. Bontrager served as Executive Vice President for Tower Bank & Trust Company (“Tower”), headquartered in Fort Wayne, Indiana. He was employed from March 1999 through Tower’s merger into Old National Bancorp on April 25, 2014, and oversaw Tower’s transition from Tower Bank to Old National Bank in 2014. He led Old National’s northeast sales efforts following the combination.
Bontrager began his banking career in Fort Wayne in 1992 and is an alumnus of Goshen College (Goshen, Ind.). He has been active in the northeast Indiana and Fort Wayne communities throughout his career, including board memberships with the Northeast Indiana Regional Partnerships and DuPont Hospital, and is a Future 40 Award Recipient of 2006, awarded by the Fort Wayne Business Journal.
Equity Bancshares, Inc. is the holding company for Equity Bank, which offers a full range of financial solutions, including commercial loans, consumer banking, mortgage loans, and treasury management services. As of December 31, 2016, Equity had $2.19 billion in consolidated total assets, with 34 locations throughout Arkansas, Kansas and Missouri.