UMB Financial adds municipal advisory services

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Kansas City, Missouri-based UMB Financial Corp. has launched a municipal advisory business targeting higher education.

The initial thrust will be in the Midwest and West, said Scott Crist, executive vice president of UMB’s public finance group.

“The growth of our public finance team has been pretty significant, so growing our MA services is a natural progression,” Crist said. “We also have star bankers who have previously worked as MAs for higher ed clients, so this will allow them to continue.”

"Growing our MA services is a natural progression," said Scott Crist, executive vice president of the public finance group.

The 107-year-old firm has 50 people in its public finance investment group, and seven bankers, Crist said.

The firm ranks 39th in municipal underwriting year-to-date with a par amount of $434.5 million in 75 issues, according to Refinitiv.

The focus with the MA business will be on higher education because that is where UMB sees the greatest need right now, Crist said.

Even pre-pandemic, higher ed had been pressured by declining enrollment, but the onset of the coronavirus moved learning online for many colleges and resulted in the loss of activity-based and student housing fees, which has steepened the curve for universities, Crist said.

In June, UMB was municipal advisor on a $60 million deal for Seattle University issued through the Washington Higher Education Finance Authority.

The effort will be led by Crist and John Wendling, a senior vice president. The firm hired Rick Menchaca and Wendling as senior vice presidents based in Texas and Colorado in 2019.

"With our deep understanding of advisory services for traditional debt offerings and P3, coupled with underwriting and trading capacity and capabilities, the municipal advisory team looks forward to guiding our clients through capital planning and credit processes to secure optimal debt capital," Wendling said in a statement.

Sean Boyea will lead UMB's efforts to expand public finance banking and MA in the west.

UMB hired Sean Boyea, a San Francisco-based public finance banker, as a senior vice president in April, to lead efforts to grow its public finance division in the West, Crist said.

Over the course of a 30-year career, Boyea has specialized in many public finance sectors including higher education, transportation and healthcare, according to UMB. Prior to his role with UMB, Boyea worked for Goldman Sachs, Morgan Stanley, The Williams Group, Boyea Capital Markets and PFM.

UMB is a national investment bank and financial services company that offers personal banking, commercial banking, healthcare services and institutional banking, which includes services to mutual funds and alternative investment companies and registered investment advisors. It operates banking and wealth management centers in Missouri, Illinois, Colorado, Kansas, Oklahoma, Nebraska, Arizona and Texas.

Markets reporter Aaron Weitzman contributed to this article.

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