Magna Group Inc. has been on a growth spurt for more than a dozen years, but chairman and chief executive G. Thomas Andes said it is now shifting focus to profitability, in hope of averting a takeover.

Magna, a $5.2 billion-asset bank based in St. Louis, has been focused on controlling expenses and developing new lines of business. It's currently exploring subprime auto finance, consumer finance, and insurance, Mr. Andes said in a recent interview. The bank also hopes to expand its brokerage and trust businesses.

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