South Tulsa Financial Corp., Commerce Bancshares to Merge

Commerce Bancshares, Inc. and South Tulsa Financial Corp. has announced a merger agreement in which South Tulsa Financial Corp. will merge with Commerce Bancshares in a transaction valued at approximately $26.2 million in Commerce Bancshares stock.
South Tulsa is the parent company of Bank South. Commerce’s acquisition of Bank South will add $124 million in assets, $107 million in gross loans, $100 million in total deposits, and two branch locations in Tulsa.
It is anticipated the transaction will be completed in the second quarter of 2007, pending regulatory approvals, the approval of South Tulsa shareholders and other customary closing conditions, the firms said. An application will also be made to merge Bank South with Commerce Bank, N.A.
Commerce Bancshares is a $15 billion bank holding company with approximately 360 locations in Missouri, Illinois, and Kansas and additional banking relationships throughout the Midwest. Commerce Bank, N.A. established a loan production office in Tulsa earlier in 2006. The Bank South merger will result in Commerce’s first full-service banking facilities in Oklahoma.
“As part of our long term regional banking strategy,” said David Kemper, chairman, president and CEO of Commerce Bancshares, “we are pleased to have partnered with this well-respected Tulsa bank to establish banking locations in a market where we have been doing business for years.”
Kevin Barth, president and chief operating officer of Commerce Bank, N.A., Kansas City Region, said, “We are excited to be able to support the leadership and directors of Bank South with Commerce Bank’s additional lending capacity, and products and services. We believe Commerce’s customer-focused approach to banking complements Bank South’s approach and will benefit its customers.”
Carl Hudgins, president and chief executive officer of Bank South, said, “After meeting the people at Commerce and finding we share so much in terms of operating philosophies, we believe this is a great opportunity. Both organizations share the belief that our success depends on an unwavering commitment to our customers and communities. Teaming up with an organization like Commerce that understands the importance of community and relationships, and a bank that has some of the best products and services in the industry, is a good opportunity to offer even more to our customers.”
Once the merger is complete, Hudgins will become chairman and CEO of the bank.



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