This is said by Dick Bove, financial strategist at Odeon Capital and a seasoned banking analyst who tells CNN Business that this year could be the biggest year for bank mergers since 1998.

This year alone Wells Fargo (WFC) Norwest bought, NationsBank acquired Bank of America (BAC); Citibank and Travelers merged into one company Citigroup (C), The Citi deal was the nail in the coffin for the Depression-era Glass Steagall Act, which prevented banks from owning insurers and brokers – a merger that would have been illegal if Congress hadn't lifted them.

Now the banks are under pressure to grow again.

"The country's largest banks have set themselves the goal of increasing their market share by taking over the business of the largest regional banks," Bove said in an email to CNN Business. "Competition will likely force the Regionals to band together to achieve the cash flows and economies of scale needed to ward off the attack."

This appears to have been the main driver behind the merger of south-east regional banking giants SunTrust and BB&T last year. This deal created a new bank – now known as Truist (TFC) – This is the sixth largest bank in the United States.
Bove will speak to CNN business editor Richard Ques at the "Markets Now" live show on Wednesday at 12:45 p.m. ET on the outlook for major banks.
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Bove sees low interest rates as a headwind for many banks that have already made the most profits from a number of share buybacks. This and the latest round of corporate tax cuts have helped banks increase their profits.

"Banks are running out of benefits that have driven strong earnings performance over the past decade," said Bove.

Quest will also be joined by Sam Stovall, CFRA's chief investment strategist, to talk about the markets.

Stovall said the short sell-off in the market earlier this month following the death of Iranian general Qassem Soleimani in a US drone attack will be just that.

In a recent report, he added that while corporate America investors expect earnings to decline slightly in the fourth quarter, actual results tend to exceed analysts' expectations. Earnings could have risen very well in the fourth quarter – news that could keep the market rally going.

Markets Now streams will be broadcast on the New York Stock Exchange every Wednesday at 12:45 p.m. CET. The 15-minute program is moderated by CNN business correspondents and contains cutting-edge comments from experts.
You can watch "Markets Now" at CNN.com/MarketsNow from your desk, phone, or tablet. If you can't watch the show live, read the highlights online and through the Markets Now newsletter, which is delivered to your inbox every afternoon.

Molly Shiels from CNN Business contributed to this story.