FORTUNE -- Charlotte is a corporate town. Counting its suburbs, it's still home to eight Fortune 500 companies, thank you very much. It's still very much the country's other banking center. But to make sense of what's happened here in the past four years -- the bust, the bottom, and what comes next -- the best place to begin isn't at the junction of Trade and Tryon streets downtown (the city's Tigris and Euphrates) or even in the gleaming office parks a stone's throw from the South Carolina state line.
Preparing to host the Democratic convention, the nation's other financial hub looks beyond its wounded institutions.