Capitol Bancorp Ltd.'s latest divestiture deal underscores just how far the company has retreated from its original strategy.

The $5.8 billion-asset Capitol announced Wednesday that it had agreed to sell its 51% stake in Bank of Belleville in Illinois to the local partners who helped Capitol start the bank in 2005. In better times, the pattern at Capitol was to buy out its partners in start-up banks after three years — not the other way around.

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