First Commerce Corp.'s brokerage subsidiary has found a sure-fire way to attract investors: by dispensing with fees for stock trades.

Investors paid no sales commissions on nearly 125,000 shares that they snapped up on Nov. 17, when First Commerce Investment Service hosted its annual "Buy Louisiana Stock Day."

Individual shares of First Commerce, Hibernia Corp, and Entergy Corp. were among the top draws as investors spent $1.5 million on shares of 45 publicly traded companies based in Louisiana.

Executives at First Commerce, a $6.5 billion-asset banking company's an based in New Orleans, say the six-year-old program has helped to build leads for the brokerage.

First Commerce brokers follow up by asking investors if they might be interested in other products, including the banking company's own Marquis mutual funds, a spokeswoman said.

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