It's only natural to look at successful private equity deals in the banking industry and think about what might have been-the failures that might have been avoided had private equity money been allowed to flow more freely into the sector, the balance sheet health that might have been restored by now at banks needing to be recapitalized.

Indeed, in the midst of crisis, Washington went only so far in easing the long-standing restrictions on private equity's control of depositories, even as regulators scrambled to contain the influx of failed institutions.

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