Johnny Allison cashed in big on the Texas banking crisis of the 1980s, acquiring some $2 billion of bad assets from the old Resolution Trust Corp., and parlaying it into $30 million a year in income after the sector recovered five years later.

So when the chairman of Home Bancshares in Conway, Ark., sees what has happened in the Southeast over the past five years, he can't help but feel like it's déjà vu all over again.

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