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The Great Recession was a transformative event for many sectors and areas of the economy. Perhaps none felt its wrath more than the financial stocks.

As one of the leading causes of the recession, the banks, insurance firms and other financial companies were crippled under the weight of imploding derivative bets and toxic mortgages. Bankruptcies and failures ruled the headlines. And those that survived were forced to reevaluate their lucrative shareholder rewards to save much-needed cash.

As if that wasn’t enough, in the years after the Great Recession, regulators attacked the banks and placed various restrictions on their business models to quell future crisis. Talk about kicking the bank stocks when they were already down.

But all of that changed mid-November.

Several events, including the election of President Trump and the recent bump in interest rates, may have given the banks stocks their much-needed kick in the pants. For investors, the sector could be one of the best places to find dividend growth and total returns once again.

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