The list of potential bank buyers is growing at a faster rate than the ranks of sellers, according to a new research note by KBW Inc.'s Keefe, Bruyette & Woods Inc.

KBW bank research team on Monday added 12 banks to its list of possible consolidators, adding companies such as BBCN Bancorp Inc. in Los Angeles; Fulton Financial Corp. in Lancaster, Pa.; and German American Bancorp Inc. in Jasper, Ind.

In contrast, only four banks were added to the sellers list: Alliance Financial Corp. in Syracuse, N.Y.; First Defiance Financial Corp. in Defiance, Ohio; Omniamerican Bancorp Inc. in Fort Worth, Texas; and Texas Capital BancShares Inc. in Dallas. Cardinal Financial Corp. in McLean, Va., and Macatawa Bank Corp. in Holland, Mich., were removed from the sellers list.

The analysts noted that, so far this year, there have been five bank deals valued above $50 million, compared to four deals a year earlier.

The research team, meanwhile, added Cardinal Financial; BankUnited Inc. in Miami Lakes, Fla.; and Heritage Commerce Corp. in San Jose, Calif., to a list of buyers who could end up as sellers. BankUnited attempted to sell itself in January, backing away after it was unable to secure an acceptable premium.

KBW's other newly added buyer candidates include Berkshire Hills Bancorp Inc. in Pittsfield, Mass.; F.N.B. Corp. in Hermitage, Pa.; Heritage Financial Group Inc. in Albany, Ga.; Oriental Financial Group Inc. in San Juan, Puerto Rico; Pacific Continental Corp. in Eugene, Ore.,; Viewpoint Financial Group in Plano, Texas; Washington Banking Co. in Oak Harbor, Wash., Washington Federal Inc. in Seattle; and Westamerica Bancorp in San Rafael, Calif.

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