The investment bank Sterne Agee is acquiring a residential mortgage lender.

The privately held investment firm, based in Birmingham, Ala., is buying FBC Mortgage of Orlando, Fla., a unit of Florida Bank of Commerce, for undisclosed terms, the companies said Tuesday.

FBC, which has about 200 employees, originates loans via retail and wholesale distribution in 15 states.

The companies said Sterne Agee would offer FBC's services to more than 500 community banks Stern Agee counts as clients.

"The acquisition is the continuation of Stern Agee's strategic plan to expand the products and services that Sterne Agee offers as a full-service financial services company," James S. Holbrook, Jr., Sterne Agee's CEO, said in a news release.

"Our residential mortgage wholesale banking platform works directly with community banks and this merger opens us up to a whole new group of banks," Sal Nunziata, FBC's chief executive, added.

Sterne Agee has about 1,300 employees and 49 offices in 22 states nationwide.

The deal marks the latest in a run of acquisitions for Sterne Agee. In October 2011, the company bought Anderson & Strudwick, a brokerage firm based in Richmond, Va. In December 2010, it announced a deal to buy Nollenberger Capital Partners, an asset manager based in San Francisco.

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