A stock analyst said he expects two small, business- oriented Midwest community banks to profit from the pending merger of St. Louis-based Boatmen's Bancshares and NationsBank Corp., Charlotte, N.C.

BancFirst, Oklahoma City, and Mississippi Valley Bancshares, St. Louis, should pick up customers as well as bankers displaced by the merger because of their focus on small business, local presence, and strong management, according to Joel K. Gomberg, an analyst at Howe Barnes Investments Inc.

He said the banks are small enough to be intimate but large enough to offer a range of products and services. BancFirst has $1.2 billion of assets; Mississippi Valley, $1 billion.

Mr. Gomberg rated both institutions as long-term buys.

"It is often the case that attractive relationships can be persuaded to leave a chain bank, like NationsBank, because small businesses are more comfortable with a longtime local bank," he said. "We expect management to be opportunistic in its attempt to steal market share."

Joe Shockley, chief financial officer of BancFirst, said it is prepared to swoop down on small-business customers during the disarray created by the merger.

"We hope to be able to call on prospects," he said, "and as these changes take place, we think there will be customers that don't want to bank with a megabank."

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