First Busey in Champaign, Ill., is back on the all-star team.

The $5.5 billion-asset First Busey is one of 27 small and midsize banks that the investment bank Sandler O'Neill & Partners has identified as all-stars for 2016, as measured by profitability, credit quality and capital strength. Hit hard by last decade's real estate crash — its Busey Bank unit lost $318 million in 2009 — First Busey had been absent from Sandler's annual ranking since 2006.

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