BUZZ-Buybacks could benefit acquisition-minded U.S. banks - KBW

** Instead of building capital ahead of an acquisition, U.S. banks could benefit through buyback programs that would boost their stock prices, allowing for stronger buyout deals - Keefe, Bruyette & Woods

** U.S. banks currently have capital that is at a 70-year high and exceeds industry regulatory requirements, allowing for ample distributions to shareholders and also making the industry ripe for acquisitions - KBW

** Brokerage says the industry is generating over 7 pct annual growth in capital, in excess of industry needs

** KBW says if a bank is left with lower-than-required capital levels after a post-buyback deal, it could issue new shares that will likely be above the level at they were repurchased

* The U.S. Senate last week approved a bill to ease tight restrictions on regional lenders, freeing them and the industry of huge compliance costs, which could foster acquisitions (Reporting by Nikhil Subba in Bengaluru)