While the world feared the worst about financial services in the summer of 2008, Randy Dennis was telling banks to suit up for a wave of opportunity.

Dennis' DD&F Consulting in Little Rock, Ark., became one of the go-to advisory firms for banks looking to buy failed institutions from the Federal Deposit Insurance Corp. His clients include George Gleason, the chief executive and chairman of Bank of the Ozarks (Nasdaq: OZRK), and John W. Allison, the chairman of Home BancShares (HOMB).

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