ST. LOUISCommerce Bank announced it has entered into a definitive agreement to acquire L.J. Hart & Company, a municipal bond underwriter and advisor. Terms of the transaction were not disclosed.
L.J. Hart & Company, founded in 1991 in St. Louis, MO, has advised more than 300 Missouri Public School Districts and nearly a quarter of the 114 Missouri county governments. The municipal bond underwriting and advisory firm has underwritten more than 2,600 individual municipal financings since incorporation for a par value exceeding $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 client 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 years and are excited to have L.J. Hart & Company as part of our team.”
L.J. Hart & Company will become a key part of Commerce Bank’s growing institutional fixed-income business that is currently operated 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.
“L.J. 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 early on according to L.J. Hart & Company president Thomas J. Pisarkiewicz who said, “I was impressed by how well we worked together on an arrangement that expands our reach while continuing our present business practices.”
The founder of L.J. Hart & Company also sees benefits. “I am very proud of the business footprint we are developing with this excellent team and look forward to leveraging Commerce Bank’s network for future growth,” Larry J. Hart, chairman, chief executive officer and founder of L.J. Hart & Company.
Commerce Bank will retain the L.J. Hart & Company brand, staff members and the subsidiary’s current office in Chesterfield, MO. The closing of the transaction is dependent on regulatory approval.
About Commerce Bancshares, Inc.
With $32.6 billion in assets1, Commerce Bancshares, Inc. (NASDAQ: CBSH) is a registered bank holding company offering a full line of banking services through its subsidiaries, including payment solutions, 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 across the U.S., Commerce Bank currently operates full-service banking facilities across the Midwest including the St. Louis and Kansas City metropolitan areas, 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 service and sophisticated financial solutions at regional branches, commercial offices, ATMs, online, mobile and through a 24/7 customer service line. Learn more at www.commercebank.com.
1As of September 30, 2022
About L.J. Hart & Company
L.J. Hart & Company is a niche municipal bond underwriting and advisory firm based in Chesterfield, MO. Since its founding in 1991, the firm has completed over 2,600 financings, serving as senior manager with a primary focus on school districts. The company develops creative and tailored financing solutions for local governments, including school districts, counties, special districts, not-for-profit corporations, and other entities. The firm’s business is almost exclusively in Missouri.