WASHINGTON -- Two municipal bond firms, R.W. Corby & Co. of the District of Columbia and North Bridge Securities of Boston, said yesterday they merged to form Corby North Bridge Securities Inc.

The primary factors driving the merger of the two regional firms "were economics and good business," said Julio Gomez Jr., chairman and chief executive officer of the new company.

The merged entity is a minority-owned business and will use that status to help seek business, a spokesman said. North Bridge was a minority-owned firm before the merger.

Corby North Bridge has a total of about 25 employees, to be located in one office in the district, one in Boston, and two in Virginia in Richmond and Leesburg. In addition to Gomez, the board of directors consists of Robert W. Corby, vice chairman; Michael J. Reilly, president; Carl L. Schmitz Jr., chief operating officer; and John H.W. Gefaeli, secretary.

"We were showing up in similar transactions," Gomez said of the two merging firms. "It became apparent we could benefit from a combination of human and financial resources."

The merged entity will continue to serve existing clients such as the District of Columbia, Sussex County, Del., and Massachusetts. Gomez said he hoped the merger provides "a platform which will enable us to expand." However, "our approach to the market will be a targeted one," he said, adding that he could not elaborate on strategy at this time.

The merger will not result in loss of jobs but instead could create new ones, Gomez said.

"The biggest business obstacle toward reaching our goal would be the coordination of the great human resources we have at the firm to take advantage on a rational basis of the opportunities that the firm is presented with on a daily, weekly, regular basis," Gomez said.

Looking down the road at the health of the municipal bond market, Gomez said that despite the "obvious" effect of high interest rates on the market, "we continue to have pent-up demand for infrastructure, so that a wholesale drop-off in volume due to high interest rates will be temporary, and over the long run we are going to have a very healthy and active level of issuance."

Corby North Bridge will be buying and selling bonds daily for its own account as well as for customers.

R.W. Corby was founded in 1975, specializing in fixed-income securities and having an annual securities distribution volume of more than $3 billion in recent years. North Bridge securities was founded by Gomez in 1992. Since then, "the firm has participated in transactions aggregating $5 billion." according to a press release.

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