Monday, November 20, 2006

Tightwad bank to close

KANSAS CITY, Mo. (AP) - A small-town bank that drew $2.2 million in deposits from around the country because of its unusual name will close Jan. 31.

The Tightwad Bank opened on a shoestring 22 years ago in the small community along Missouri 7 halfway between Clinton and Warsaw.

Now, UMB Bank Warsaw, which operates the bank, is cutting costs and has urged customers to do their banking at its branches in Clinton and Warsaw.

Officials at UMB, a subsidiary of UMB Financial Corp (UMBF), would not elaborate on the decision.

"I don't like it at all," said Tightwad resident Linda Houk. "I'm not sure I'll leave my accounts at UMB."

Two months after the Tightwad Bank opened in May 1984, an article on it appeared in The Kansas City Times. Word began to spread.

"We were discovered," said Gene Henry, a Clinton banker who helped open the Tightwad Bank. "People would just mail us a check, Tightwad Bank, Tightwad, Missouri, sometimes with no ZIP code, and the post office, to its credit, found us."

Up to a dozen checks would arrive daily, each with a note asking for an account and a batch of Tightwad Bank checks, Henry said. In two years, customers from near and far gave the bank $2.2 million in deposits.

The bank started as a branch of a Windsor bank whose chairman foresaw growth fueled by development around the then-new Truman Lake. Henry said some even envisioned Tightwad as becoming the next Branson.

But growth never came. Tightwad, population 63, has eight more residents now than when the bank opened.

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