The sorry saga of Houston-based First City Bancorp, rescued twice by federal regulators, ended on Jan. 26 with the sale of its 20 failed banks by the FDIC for $434 million. Thanks to loss-sharing agreements with some buyers, the Bank Insurance Fund may not suffer any losses. When the FDIC took over First City in October, it estimated that the latest rescue could cost the fund $500 million. The buyout's big winner is Texas Commerce Bancshares, a unit of Chemical Bank. TCB picked up five banks representing 73% of the former First City's $9 billion-plus in assets.

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