John F. Grundhofer, president and chief executive officer of U.S. Bancorp, told bankers here Tuesday that the merger frenzy will continue.

"Everyone is talking to everyone," Mr. Grundhofer told a meeting of the Oregon Bankers Association. "I wouldn't be surprised to see a deal announced every Monday for the next two months."

Mr. Grundhofer predicted a quarter of all banks operating today will be out of business within a few years.

To survive, community bankers must stick to their niche of personalized service for small-business customers, Mr. Grundhofer said. However, banks like his and Wells Fargo & Co. will aggressively pursue these customers, he pledged. "We're not going to let them slip through the cracks."

U.S. Bancorp is the surviving name from the merger of the Portland-based bank of that name with First Bank System Inc., Minneapolis. Mr. Grundhofer, as First Bank's leader, has done 24 deals over the last four years. U.S. Bancorp, he said, will continue acquiring rivals. "It's hard to find investment bankers, because they are all engaged in other deals," he said.

Subscribe Now

Access to authoritative analysis and perspective and our data-driven report series.

14-Day Free Trial

No credit card required. Complete access to articles, breaking news and industry data.