by weak internal revenue growth, a bank's ability to outperform its peers in stock valuation has become critical in determining whether it becomes an acquirer or a historical footnote.

The stock market has given significant premiums to those that have been able to drive growth in return on equity and earnings per share by successfully pursuing consolidation and low-cost producer strategies, as well as by achieving material fee-income growth. This has put pressure on managements to adopt more proactive and aggressive earnings and capitalization management strategies -- strategies that are obviously accompanied by their own set of rewards, but also their own risks.

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