The nation's biggest banks may be getting their financial footing, but as 2009 comes to a close the bad news mounts for many regional and community banks. Real estate-related losses continue to pile up and most experts are predicting that hundreds of more banks could fail before the crisis subsides.

Then there is First Niagara Financial Group Inc. in Lockport, N.Y. - one mid-tier banking company that is ending the year on a roll.

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