Commerce Bank of Cherry Hill, N.J., has hired a former CoreStates banker to create a new derivatives group.

Bradley S. Geist joined Commerce as a vice president in charge of a group aimed at corporate and municipal borrowers who want to use derivatives to lock in an interest rate on their floating-rate loans.

"This enables borrowers to create the type of interest rate environment they want," said Vernon W. Hill, chairman of Commerce.

The group is to use a variety of sophisticated financial instruments, including rate swaps, caps, and collars as well as Treasury locks.

Mr. Hill said these products would most likely be used by the bank's middle-market commercial borrowers, which he defined as companies that borrow about $5 million.

The group also is to work closely with Commerce Capital Markets to offer similar services to public finance clients throughout the Northeast.

Mr. Geist led a similar derivatives unit at Philadelphia's CoreStates Financial Corp. for 15 years. First Union Corp. of Charlotte, N.C., bought CoreStates in April.

Bank executives said they plan to hire two or three more professionals for the derivatives group soon.

Commerce Bancorp has $4.6 billion of assets and 79 offices in eastern Pennsylvania, New Jersey, and Delaware.

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