Commerce Bancshares (CBSH) in Kansas City, Mo., will issue a special dividend ahead of a potential increase in dividend tax rates.

The $20.6 billion-asset company will pay a one-time dividend of $1.50 a share in December in addition to its regular quarterly dividend of 23 cents a share, Commerce said Friday.

"Given the potential significant increases in tax rates on dividends beginning next year, and our strong levels of capital, it is an opportune time to provide this special dividend distribution to our shareholders before the end of the year," David W. Kemper, the company’s chairman and chief executive, said in a press release.

Even with the dividend payout, Commerce's capital ratios will remain strong and the company will still have enough capital to support balance sheet growth, acquisitions and stock repurchases, Kemper said.

Some banks, especially those with plenty of cash and that are struggling to use it for loan growth or acquisitions, are issuing one-time payouts before the year ends. Tax rates on dividends could rise if Congress fails to prevent the fiscal cliff from happening.

Commerce also said that it would issue a 5% stock dividend in December to shareholders of record on Nov. 30.

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