Los Angeles-based Imperial Bancorp announced Friday that US Audiotex Corp., of which it owns 80%, will go public.

A registration statement for an initial public offering is expected to be filed with the Securities and Exchange Commission within a few weeks.

US Audiotex of San Ramon, Calif., processes electronic payments made to the government, such as taxes. Through a toll-free number, 888-2PAY-TAX, and the Internet US Audiotex processes federal, state, and local government taxes, fines, and payments. Customers can make the payments using credit or debit cards.

"From a small start, the company has grown steadily for several years," said Christine M. McCarthy, executive vice president and chief financial officer of $6 billion-asset Imperial.

During the past tax season, US Audiotex processed payments for the Internal Revenue Service's state franchise boards using interactive voice response.

This increased Imperial's noninterest income to $36.6 million for the three months ended June 30, from $35.2 million a year earlier.

Imperial invested in US Audiotex three years ago. The 20% stake Imperial does not own is held by the payment company's founder.

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