As acquisition hungry Sterling Bancshares looks to expand its market to other southwestern banks beyond its Houston headquarters, the regional bank gets closer to using securitization as a financing tool.

Sterling is not there yet. However, after acquiring smaller banks in the Houston area every year since 1993, the bank is now looking to expand into other cities - Dallas is the likely target, a senior Sterling executive said - which means an asset-backed deal could be issued sooner rather than later.

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