While some of us were shopping for loved ones during the holidays, some banks were shopping for acquisitions.

Jeffrey C. Gerrish, a partner at Gerrish McCreary Smith, said in his bi-weekly newsletter last week that several of his clients were hungry for deal-making as the curtain fell on 2011. The Memphis law firm provides a wide range of services to banks around the country.

"Not that they are going to try and get them done by yearend, just that they want to make a preliminary decision by yearend, which is all good," Gerrish wrote.

These banks were curious if they could complete due diligence, agree on terms, reach an agreement and start the regulatory process by the end of the year, according to Gerrish. He answered yes to all those questions. "If you have an opportunity, you need to take advantage of it in a timely fashion," he wrote.

In a short interview, Gerrish added that he is not pushing his clients to sell or buy but has urged them to assess their position as they plot their future. The trend of creative deal-making, particularly deal structures that isolate nonperforming assets, will continue in 2012, he says.

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