Midcity Financial Corp. of Chicago has hired the New York investment bank Donaldson, Lufkin & Jenrette Inc. to help it explore sale, merger, and other options. Though $1.8 billion-asset Midcity could stay independent, its president, Kenneth A. Skopec, said the multistate holding company may sell itself to boost shareholder value.

"We just want to get a reading from the market as to whether we're proceeding in the right direction as an independent," he said of the Donaldson Lufkin hiring, which was announced last week. "But we have no preconceived notions about how this will end. It may be that with the way bank stocks have been beaten up recently" Midcity should remain independent.

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