John Thain was CEO of Merrill Lynch in 2008 as it crumbled and sold itself to Bank of America.
Meanwhile, John Paulson was shorting mortgages and becoming a billionaire as the housing market collapsed.
Both participated in the latest consolidative move in the financial services industry.
Thain, who is currently CEO of commercial lender CIT, is now the CEO of a regional retail bank.
CIT Group today announced that it reached a deal to acquire OneWest for $US3.4 billion in cash and stock. OneWest is a privately-owned regional bank formed in 2009 that operates 73 retail branches in Southern California and has $US23 billion in assets and $US25 in deposits.
Following the merger, OneWest branches will operate under the “CIT Bank” name, and the combined bank will have $US67 billion in assets.
In a statement CIT Group, which is based in New Jersey, said that the deal will be 20% accretive to its earnings per share in 2016.
The deal was also a boon for John Paulson, the hedge funder who famously made a fortune using credit default swaps to bet against the housing market ahead of the 2008 financial crisis. A report from Bloomberg, citing a person familiar with the matter, said through a fund and credit pool, Paulson & Co. had made about $US939 million on the deal
The deal marks another big turn for CIT, which emerged from bankruptcy protection in late 2009 after nearly collapsing following the financial crisis. Thain joined the company as Chairman and CEO in February 2010.
In addition to announcing the deal, CIT also announced second quarter earnings that were better than expected. For the quarter, the company’s net income from continuing operations came in at $US1.02 per share, better than the $US0.85 expected by analysts.
Following the news, shares of CIT gained 10.8%.