Respected bank analyst Dick Bove told CNBC last week that the United states is in for a tsunami of bank meregers in the coming year.
"In the United States, I think you will see a huge wave of mergers in banking in 2016," Bove, who is the vice-president of equity research at Rafferty Capital, told CNBC.
"The regional banks are going to be buying each other and I would expect to see 2016 being one of the biggest years for bank mergers that we have seen in the last decade," he later added.
If the activity that I have seen thus far in my little corner of the universe is any indication, you can take Bove's prediction to the bank. Community and regional bank M&A lawyers are going to be plenty busy in 2016.
In addition to customary reasons for consolidation that we've talked about over the past few years, including the crushing regulatory environment post-Franken-Dodd, there's another that I haven't heard discussed, but that ought to be thrown in the hopper of any bank owner who has been fantasizing about cashing out and sipping Margaritas in Mazatlan.
Bove was also bloviating last week (this time to CNN) about how problems in the oil patch spell trouble for banks that bank the "Awl Bidness," and that those kinds of problems have, in the not-so-distant past, spread beyond the oil states and caused a wider economic recession. There are differences this time around from the 1980s on Texas, but Bove is still "concerned" that even big banks outside of Houston and Dallas could feel the pinch. Chase's Jamie Dimon disagrees.
Even Wall Street banks are facing questions about the impact of falling oil prices.
While just a small fraction of their total loan portfolio is directly tied to energy lending, Bove estimates around 20% of their investment banking revenue comes from energy.
JPMorgan Chase() CEO Jamie Dimon, in a call with analysts this week, acknowledged there may be "slight negatives" for the bank related to commercial and real estate trouble in Dallas, Denver and Houston.
Yet the big banks are well diversified. That means they should benefit from the anticipated boost to consumer spending caused by lower oil prices.
The oil price slide is "not going to be a big deal" for JPMorgan, Dimon said.
Dimon did such a good job of calling the last recession in advance that I think that we all can rest easy based solely on his judgment, right? Yeah, that's what I thought, too.
Even if it's unlikely that oil-related industry woes will, alone, take the US economy down another black hole, you have to wonder whether, coupled with the global stock market retreat caused by China's reckless debt-funded economic expansion finally grinding to a halt and sliding backward, and what the ripple effects of that might be, if now might be the time to pull the plug, while the US economy, while not partying like it's 1999, sure as heck isn't slumbering like it's 2009. It's at least worth more than a passing thought.