Louisiana, seven years out of a petroleum and real estate debacle that led to dozens of bank failures, is challenging Texas as the state with the most top-performing independent banks.

Texas has held that distinction since California's fall from grace in 1990. Last year, it had 22 institutions among the top 100. But Louisiana, which in past years barely registered as a place for high-performance banks, came in a respectable second with 15. That's a wildly disproportionate showing, considering that Louisiana has only about 200 banks with assets of $50 million to $1 billion. Texas, by virtue of having more than 900 banks in that category, has always been well represented in the top 100.

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