Springfield, MO

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Commerce Bancshares Inc. announced in February that its board of directors approved a 3-for-2 stock split in the form of a 50 percent stock dividend.

Distribution of the dividend is set for March 30 to shareholders of record as of March 9. Shareholders will get cash for fractional shares held, based on the market value of the stock March 9.

In addition, Commerce's board declared a quarterly cash dividend of 21.75 cents per share, an 11.4 percent increase over the prior dividend of 19.5 cents per share. The dividend is not payable on any of the shares issued through the stock split.

A release from Commerce said the decision marks the 30th consecutive year the holding company has increased total dividends per share.

Also, the board approved the additional purchase of up to 2.79 million shares of Commerce Bancshares stock. Along with shares previously authorized for repurchase, the company now has the authority to repurchase 3 million shares. This marks an increase in the previous authorization of 2 million shares, reflecting the 3-for-2 stock split.

Commerce, traded on the NASDAQ market under the symbol CBSH, closed March 10 at $72.25. The company has more than 260 bank locations in Missouri, Illinois and Kansas, as well as five other operating subsidiaries.

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