Metrobank in Los Angeles hasn't been immune to Southern California's economic troubles. Unemployment from base closures and commercial real estate problems have dragged on its earnings.

So why did Comerica Inc., the Detroit regional, offer to pay 1.7 times book value for the $1.3 billion-asset Metrobank? Because Comerica wants to build a high-powered business banking franchise in California. And, in Los Angeles, business banking is Metrobank's game.

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