The scramble among regional southern banks for market share was displayed in bold relief Monday as Regions Financial Corp. said it had agreed to pay $2.7 billion to buy First Commercial Corp., the biggest bank in Arkansas.

The deal for Little Rock-based First Commercial was a stark departure from Regions' previous pattern of acquisitions, which was to buy southern community banks in deals that cost less than $800 million, and often less than $100 million.

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