While now is hardly the time for optimistic forecasts, next year could present community banks with unprecedented opportunities to add customers, loans, and talent as larger rivals repair balance sheets and integrate mergers.

The $4 billion-asset Taylor Capital Group Inc. in Rosemont, Ill., is a case in point. The parent of Cole Taylor Bank added $287 million of commercial loans in the third quarter, and picked up 50 bankers from LaSalle Bank Corp. after ABN Amro Holding NV sold the unit last year to Bank of America Corp.

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