St. LOUIS, November 18, 2022–(BUSINESS WIRE)–Commerce Bank announced it has entered into a definitive agreement to acquire LJ Hart & Company, a municipal bond underwriter and advisor. Terms of the transaction were not disclosed.
LJ Hart & Company, founded in 1991 in St. Louis, MO, has advised more than 300 Missouri Public School Districts and nearly a quarter of Missouri’s 114 county governments. The municipal bond underwriting and advisory firm has underwritten more than 2,600 individual municipal financings since incorporation for a par value of more than $7.3 billion, according to data from Refinitiv Financial Solutions.
“This transaction brings together two like-minded Missouri-based institutions that share a fundamental mission of building customer relationships through great customer service,” said Bob Holmes, chairman and chief executive officer, Commerce Bank – St. Louis. “We have worked with Larry and his firm for many years and are excited to have LJ Hart & Company as part of our team.”
LJ Hart & Company will be an integral part of Commerce Bank’s growing institutional fixed income business currently staffed by more than 50 professionals across two business units. Through Commerce Brokerage Services, Inc. and Commerce Bank Capital Markets Group, Commerce provides fixed income trading, asset liability management, safekeeping and bond accounting to thousands of institutional clients.
“LJ Hart & Company is a welcome addition to Commerce’s capabilities and the team is a great fit for our culture,” said Erik Swanson, executive vice president and managing director, Commerce Bank Commercial Tradeable Products.
Compatibility was evident from the start according to LJ Hart & Company president Thomas J. Pisarkiewicz who said, “I am impressed with how well we work together in an arrangement that expands our reach while continuing our current business practices.”
The founders of LJ Hart & Company also saw the benefits. “I am extremely proud of the business footprint we have built with this outstanding team and look forward to leveraging the Commerce Bank network for future growth,” said Larry J. Hart, chairman, chief executive officer and founder of LJ Hart & Company.
Commerce Bank will retain the LJ Hart & Company brand, staff members and the subsidiary’s current office in Chesterfield, MO. Closing of the transaction is subject to regulatory approval.
About Commerce Bancshares, Inc.
With assets of $32.6 billion1, Commerce Bancshares, Inc. (NASDAQ: CBSH) is a registered bank holding company that offers a full range of banking services through its subsidiaries, including payment processing, investment management and securities brokerage. One of its subsidiaries, Commerce Bank, leverages more than 155 years of proven strength and experience to help individuals and businesses solve financial challenges. In addition to offering payment solutions throughout the US, Commerce Bank now operates full-service banking facilities throughout the Midwest including the St. Louis and Kansas City, Springfield, Central Missouri, Central Illinois, Wichita, Tulsa, Oklahoma City and Denver. It also maintains commercial offices in Dallas, Houston, Cincinnati, Nashville, Des Moines, Indianapolis and Grand Rapids. Commerce delivers high-touch services and sophisticated financial solutions in regional branches, commercial offices, ATMs, online, mobile and via a 24/7 customer service line. Learn more at www.commercebank.com.
1From September 30, 2022
About LJ Hart & Company
LJ Hart & Company is a specialty municipal bond underwriting and advisory firm based in Chesterfield, MO. Since its inception in 1991, the firm has completed more than 2,600 financings, serving as a senior manager with a primary focus on school districts. The company develops creative and customized financing solutions for local governments, including school districts, counties, special districts, nonprofits and other entities. The firm’s business is almost exclusively in Missouri.
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