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Sandler O'Neill + Partners Award Winning Banking Analyst Sees Continued Potential for M&A Among West Coast Banks in this Interview from the 2012 Regional Banking Equity Analysis Report

67 WALL STREET, New York - November 30, 2012 - The Wall Street Transcript has just published its 2012 Regional Banking Equity Analysis Report offering a timely review of the sector to serious investors and industry executives. This special feature contains expert industry commentary through in-depth interviews with public company CEOs, Equity Analysts and Money Managers. The full issue is available by calling (212) 952-7433 or via The Wall Street Transcript Online.

Topics covered: Investing in Regional Banks

Companies include: Bank of America Corporation (BAC), City National Corp. (CYN), Wells Fargo & Company (WFC), Zions Bancorp. (ZION) and many others.

In the following excerpt from the 2012 Regional Banking Equity Analysis Report, an expert analyst discusses the outlook for the sector for investors:

TWST: What is your coverage in the banking area?

Mr. Deer: I cover banks in the Western United States.

TWST: In general, what are the major investment themes you are watching right now in terms of the Western banks?

Mr. Deer: Mostly loan growth, margins and capital management. Those are the three things that are arguably the most important drivers of bank performance currently. More generally, I'd highlight M&A as an investment theme, though deals have yet to pick up in a meaningful way.

TWST: You mentioned that M&A has not started to pick up in a meaningful way yet. Will it pick up?

Mr. Deer: Yes, we started to see it in 2011, and at this point, notwithstanding a few relatively larger deals announced early last year, most of the activity that we've seen to date, particularly out here in the West, has been very small deals. But I would anticipate that, over the course of 2012, we see both the volume and the size of deals gradually increase.

TWST: Why is that?

Mr. Deer: Because the banking industry is under pressure with respect to earnings growth. The low interest rates, the onerous regulatory situation and other factors make for a very difficult operating environment. Given these challenges, the banks are looking at consolidation as a means to improve efficiency and maintain a positive earnings trajectory.

TWST: Will the community banks consolidate among themselves, or are bigger players coming into the space to acquire the smaller banks?

For more of this interview and many others visit the Wall Street Transcript - a unique service for investors and industry researchers - providing fresh commentary and insight through verbatim interviews with CEOs, portfolio managers and research analysts. This special issue is available by calling (212) 952-7433 or via The Wall Street Transcript Online.