A simple fix, sitting right on the shelf in Congress, would make it easier in important ways for the vast pools of capital in private-equity funds to be put to good use in the banking sector.

Of course private-equity firms can and do structure acquisitions of banks within existing legal and regulatory constraints. The recapitalization of Doral Financial and the Federal Deposit Insurance Corp.'s sale of IndyMac's banking operations to a private-equity consortium led by Dune Capital are but two examples of how existing techniques can be adapted to make such acquisitions possible.

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