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Kansas City Life Insurance Co. poised to open bank doors

Federal regulators have cleared a path for Kansas City Life Insurance Co. to offer credit cards, loans, home mortgages, checking accounts, and other traditional banking services. Kansas City Life, based in Kansas City, Mo., joins a number of insurance companies leaping into banking in the wake of federal legislation adopted last year.

The Office of Thrift Supervision announced on March 29 that it gave Kansas City Life a federal thrift charter to establish Generations Bank, which will be based in Kansas City, Mo. Kansas City Life is awaiting final approval from the Federal Deposit Insurance Corp.

Tracy Knapp, president and CEO of Generations Bank, says if all goes as planned, the bank will be open for business sometime this summer.

"We will be offering banking products and services to employees, agents, and customers of Kansas City Life," Knapp says, explaining that its more than 1 million customers and 3,000 agents are spread throughout the country. The general public will be able to use the bank, and Generations will offer services via the telephone, Internet, mail, or by fax, Knapp says.

Kansas City Life, founded in 1895, has several subsidiaries, including two other life insurance companies. They are Sunset Life Insurance Company of America and Old American Insurance Company, which are both based in Kansas City, Mo.

Others that have established banks or received approval to do so include Aetna Inc., American International Group, The Hartford Financial Services Group, Massachusetts Mutual Life Insurance Co., the National Association of Mutual Insurance Companies, New York Life Insurance Co., and State Farm Mutual Automobile Insurance Co.

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