The departure of a high-profile colleague and renewed interest in regional banks have thrust Sean J. Ryan into the spotlight at Bear, Stearns & Co.

Mr. Ryan, 28, suddenly became senior bank analyst this month, when veteran bank watcher Lawrence Vitale left to join a start-up hedge fund. Mr. Vitale became the financial institutions analyst at Lone Pine Capital, a Stamford, Conn., firm headed by a former executive from hedge-fund pioneer Tiger Management.

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