The past decade hasn't been kind to San Diego's independent banks, but the present has brightened considerably for those that remain.

After harrowing times in the early '90s, community banks in California's third-largest city see profitability on the upswing. Returns on assets and equity are continuing a steady rise that began in 1992, and the eight banks' collective net earnings passed the $12 million mark last year, their highest level of the '90s.

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