CHICAGO - New York City-based M.R. Beal & Co. has hired former JPMorgan public finance banker Bhanu Patil to work in its Chicago office, which has lacked the presence of a locally based municipal banker for nearly three years.

Patil previously was an associate in JPMorgan's municipal group, working on general government, housing, nonprofit, health care, and utility and power sector credits. Prior to joining JPMorgan in 2003, she had worked for two years in the energy and infrastructure muni groups at Goldman, Sachs & Co.

Patil started with the firm on Monday as a vice president and will cover Midwest credits. The firm has lacked a municipal banker based in Chicago since Steve Eaddy departed to take a position with the former LaSalle Financial Services Inc. in mid-2006.

After Eaddy left, head of public finance Wayne Seaton and chief executive officer Bernard Beal led the firm's Midwestern efforts and push to win more coveted senior manager roles.

"Bhanu will be an integral part of our growing Midwest municipal market coverage and will undoubtedly anchor our efforts in the region, particularly with the city of Chicago and Cook County," Beal said.

Seaton said Patil's structuring knowledge and experience "covering some of the region's largest clients was very appealing to us."

M.R. Beal has in recent years successfully carved out a larger chunk of local business. It won a co-senior manager's spot on a Chicago water deal last year, and more recently the senior manager position on a Chicago Public Schools transaction.

The firm also served on the team of financial advisers hired by Chicago to work on the proposed Midway Airport lease that was canceled earlier this week over the private consortium's failure to raise financing for the $2.52 billion transaction.

The Chicago office is Beal's second largest, behind its New York base, with 11 employees, although most work on equity sales and trading and in the taxable and corporate capital markets. The firm has two other offices in Sacramento and Dallas

Patil's hiring follows that of Arthur Chan, previously with Barclays Capital, in the firm's New York office earlier this year as part of what Seaton describes as a "measured expansion."

About 15 professionals work in the municipal group, including about nine bankers. Seaton said the firm has of late talked to more "seasoned professionals with books of business," given the turmoil and layoffs at larger firms.

The 21-year-old minority-owned firm worked in some capacity on deals totaling about $40 billion last year, according to its own calculations.

As a senior manager, M.R. Beal ranked 30th last year, working on nine issues worth $1.4 billion, according to Thomson Reuters.

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