Smaller banks are also likely to be acquirers this year. Nashville, Tenn.-based Pinnacle Financial ( PNFP) could be a buyer, Reynolds says. People's United Financial ( PBCT) of Bridgeport, Conn. could also be in the market for an acquisition. "The list of the bigger guys doing deals is smaller and shorter," says Anton Schutz, president of Mendon Capital Advisors and the fund manager to Burnham Financial Services. His firm owns shares of People's. "You go into small cap and micro-cap land -- there are guys with big capital ratios, so you could certainly see lots of deals." Still, some big banks like JPMorgan Chase or Wells Fargo, two of the better names in the banking sector throughout the financial crisis, could strike again. "From a scale perspective, what else is out there that is so colossal to be hard for them? They don't have to consolidate it for a while," Schutz says. "I think
CEO Jamie Dimon would do it if it was incredibly attractive."