KANSAS CITY, Mo. - In an effort to boost its fee-based business lines, UMB Financial Corp. has signed a letter of intent to buy Sunstone Financial Group Inc., a Milwaukee provider of Internet account access, information, and transaction services.

Under the deal, which requires a definitive agreement, the companies would combine some mutual fund processing operations and incorporate areas like custody, cash management, transfer agency, fund accounting, distribution, marketing, and shareholder communications in a single back-office operation.

"UMB is delighted about the prospect of joining forces with Sunstone to further our strategic agenda of building our fee-based business," R. Crosby Kemper 3d, chairman and chief executive officer of UMB, said in a press statement.

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