Dexia Group of Paris, a $230 billion-asset banking and municipal credit company, announced Tuesday that it has agreed to buy Financial Security Assurance Holdings Ltd., the No. 4 U.S. bond insurance company, for $2.6 billion.

While far smaller than the pairing of Charles Schwab & Co. and U.S. Trust Corp. or ING Group's bid for Aetna's financial services business, the Dexia-FSA deal is noteworthy, analysts said, for being the first of its kind between a bank and an insurance company since Congress broke down barriers separating the industries in November.

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