When St. Louis-based Roosevelt Financial Group closes its deal to acquire cross-state rival Farm & Home next month, it will buy a big market share, a profitable mortgage business -- and a sizable book of derivatives.

It was that off-balance-sheet activity that caused Piper, Jaffray & Co. banking analyst Steve Schroll to probe a little further before deciding that Roosevelt knew what it was getting into. "They obviously took a very hard look at it before deciding to proceed," he said.

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