Attractive, solvent financial firm with a penchant for chocolate and commercial mortgage-backed securities seeks long-term relationship. Ideal partner would be stable, generous with money and patient.”

If the frosty rapport between the financial sector and the market continues, Wall Street firms seeking funding might have to resort to online dating.

The reasons for financial stocks’ recent struggles—tougher rules, sluggish U.S. growth and the European debt mess—are well known. Less noticed is a subtler, but more marked, move in the way banks and securities firms fund themselves.

The 2008 financial crisis—and the ensuing regulatory and market response —might have killed off the “wholesale funding model” for good, with powerful implications for banks, investors and the economy.

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