With capital to spend, private-equity investors are slowly following the public market back into the waiting arms of struggling banks.

Last week two Oregon strugglers, Cascade Bancorp in Bend and West Coast Bancorp in Lake Oswego, announced recapitalization deals that involved private-equity firms. Also, PrivateBancorp Inc. in Chicago, which had been grappling with commercial real estate loan troubles, completed a public stock offering and placed a big chunk with one of its existing private-equity owners.

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