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CenterState in Florida and Union Savings in Connecticut are adding specialists to their retail locations at a time when many other banks are cutting back or have been relying heavily on universal bankers.

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TCF Financial in Minnesota has launched a set of products targeting low-income customers. The company, which has closed a fifth of its branches in recent years, hopes underbanked clients will boost traffic at its remaining locations.

State Bank in Atlanta convinced a jittery seller to work out a deal by promising to do an all-cash purchase if its own stock faltered.

Nonperforming commercial-and-industrial loans are soaring, and loans to farmers and construction firms — not just oil and gas companies — are a big reason.

LaPorte Bancorp was poring over offers from potential buyers when Raymond James, the company's investment bank, notified LaPorte's board that it was also advising a potential acquirer on a separate deal. LaPorte requested more information before ruling out a potential conflict of interest.

Flagship Community Bank in Florida is facing pressure from its biggest shareholder to sell itself, either for cash or stock in a publicly held buyer. Management, however, believes the bank will fetch a better price if given time to improve profitability.

Scale is the goal of many banks dealing with compliance costs and revenue constraints. Success requires investing in management and systems without sacrificing culture.

UMB Financial took its lumps last year when its funds management business suffered from large outflows. The challenge prompted UMB to tighten up on expenses and rely more on revenue tied to its balance sheet.

A new Labor Department regulation designed to make more American workers eligible for overtime pay stands to add costs and slow hiring at community banks.
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A study commissioned by the Massachusetts Bankers Association found a correlation between a spike in credit unions with low-income designations and an increase missing member business lending in the state.
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HCSB Financial in South Carolina recently raised $45 million from a group led by Castle Creek Capital Partners, showing that big investors are still comfortable placing bets on financial firms. The challenge for banks like HCSB will be to find ways to put that capital to work years after other institutions were able to start playing offense.

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