Salomon Brothers Inc. has hired Richard Ivers, a former managing director of leveraged finance at CS First Boston, to head a new bank loan group.

Mr. Ivers will focus on noninvestment-grade credits in support of Salomon's high-yield activities, the investment bank said.

Over the last two years, investment banks have been building up their bank loan efforts, entering a business that has long been a staple of commercial banks. The investment banks are moving to defend their lucrative high-yield bond businesses against the gains of commercial banks, banking experts said.

Within the past few months, Donaldson, Lufkin & Jenrette and Morgan Stanley & Co. have started new bank loan groups, following earlier efforts by CS First Boston, Merrill Lynch & Co., Lehman Brothers Inc., and Goldman Sachs & Co.

Mr. Ivers will report to Randy Barker, co-head of global debt capital markets for Salomon.

"Rick Ivers was quite productive as a managing director at CS First Boston," said Mark Patterson, a managing director and head of leveraged finance at CS First Boston. "We continue to expand this unit and remain fully committed to leveraged finance."

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