The analysts cover them and expect to be paid back by being included in under writings. Then the company hires big JPM who does not know the niche bank space and who could care less about such tiny market cap banks while the firms that cover them specialize in banks like this. Oh well, these K-A banks are notorious for "relationships." mark my word, the analysts will trash talk these guys in private while writing luck warm public comments in further reports.
You are certainly right but there are now laws on sell-side analysts and investment banking relationships becoming too entwined. I don't know much of anything about them but I've seen small companies carried by investment banks because of the fees that they generated. Not good for transparency but again you are right on all points.