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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.

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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.

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

The heads of megabanks get paid a lot. Some investors want them to streamline their companies for greater returns. But it's arguable whether those CEOs would want to do so if their counterparts at smaller, better-performing banks get paid less.

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.

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.

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.

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.

Six years ago the family that controlled Home State Bancorp in Colorado said they were in it for the long haul. But, after a methodical review process tied to estate planning, family members decided to cash in their holdings.

Seacoast CEO Dennis Hudson, in a letter to the company's biggest shareholder, touted improved performance while questioning the timing of the investor's push for a sale.

Recent speculation that Comerica is on the block has sparked a conversation about how regulators would vet the sale of a SIFI.

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