CHICAGO -- Mark Twain Bancshares Inc. has acquired the public finance division of Investment Bankers of Kansas City Inc., the firms announced Monday.

The acquisition, which will bring three public finance officials from Investment Bankers over to Mark Twain, aims to provide the firm with municipal bond product for its sales and trading operations, officials at the firms said.

P. Martin Nohe, president and co-chief executive officer of Investment Bankers, called the merger a natural fit.

"Mark Twain for years had a very active sales and trading operation throughout Kansas, Missouri, and Illinois, but they had not had an origination capability," he explained. "Our firm focused exclusively on origination."

Nohe is now a senior vice president of the new division, which also includes Investment Bankers employees Greg Vahrenberg, as a vice president, and Danielle Creek, who provides operational support to the division.

The remaining employees at Investment Bankers were involved in the corporate side of investment banking and have left the firm, Nohe said.

The acquisition deal was closed Oct. 15 when Mark Twain purchased certain assets of Investment Bankers, including the firm's name. Kris Bakken, a spokeswoman for Mark Twain, said terms of the deal were not disclosed.

The St. Louis-based Mark Twain said in a press release that the public finance operation of Investment Bankers will continue to be based in Kansas City as a division of Mark Twain Bank, reporting to the bond department within the bank's Capital Markets Group.

Peter Benoist, chairman of Mark Twain, called the union beneficial for both parties.

"Mark Twain is committed to expanding the financial services of our Capital Markets Group both in the Kansas City metropolitan area and further west into Kansas," he said in a press release. "With [Investment Bankers'] recognition and clientele, we will be able to take a large step in accomplishing this endeavor."

Investment Bankers has been involved in public finance, underwriting, and financial advisory work for governments, mainly in Kansas and Missouri, Nohe said. With the merger, he said that part of the business could expand into Illinois and Oklahoma. He also noted the new division would probably add a broker in the Kansas City office, as well as public finance professionals.

Investment Bankers ranked 282d last year as a financial adviser, handling four issues that totaled $11.2 million, according to Securities Data Co. So far this year, the firm ranked 280th, with two issues totaling $9.5 million.

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