Boatmen's Bancshares Inc. boosted its Oklahoma profile on Wednesday by acquiring 20 branches and $450 million of deposits from the failed Cimarron Savings Associations, Muskogee.

Boatmen's, based in St. Louis, said it paid the Resolution Trust Corp. a premium of $13.1 million, or 2.9% of deposits. Cimarron has about $450 million of liabilities.

In an unusual twist, 18 of the newly acquired branches will be administered by Boatmen's Arkansas subsidiary, Superior Federal Bank, Fort Smith. The other two branches will be absorbed into Boatmen's First National Bank of Oklahoma.

The deal gives Boatmen's 38 branches and $1.8 billion of assets in Oklahoma, a fragmented market that is attracting several outside bank companies.

Just last week, Ohio-based Banc One Corp. gained a toe-hold in Oklahoma by agreeing to buy Central Banking Group Inc., the state's seventh-largest banking company with $541 million of assets.

Fourth Financial Corp., Wichita, Kan., is also active in Oklahoma. Upon completion of pending deals, it will have 26 branches and $1.6 billion of assets in the state.

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