THINKING BIG: M&A advice is "a service that our clients could use" and "will help bring [customers] in who aren't thinking of selling immediately," said Craig Underhill (left), the CEO of Freedom Bank of Virginia. Few of Lead Bank's competitors are offering investment-banking services "and we think there is an opportunity for real growth," said Clint Harris, senior director of corporate finance for its M&A advisory unit.

Smaller Banks Form M&A Advisory Units to Add Revenue

Regional and small banks are providing M&A advisory services to their commercial customers as a way to drive fee income, deepen client relationships and differentiate themselves from rivals.

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