The record-breaking surge in merger announcements over the past month is just the beginning of a major wave of consolidation, bankers and analysts say.

"The stars are in alignment," said analyst Raphael Soifer, of Brown Brothers Harriman & Co. "Bank stock prices are high enough that there's less resistance to selling than there had been. The acquirers' stock prices are high as well, in that sense they're able to afford it."

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