The key to the deal's positive reaction is that it's been labelled a "merger of equals," or a transaction between two similar-sized firms that can yield immediate benefits like cost cuts. BB&T climbed 2.8 percent at 11:57 am, while Suntrust had surged 8.8 percent.
"Speculation has gone through the roof that there will be more mergers of equals to follow," said Brian Foran, a bank analyst and partner at Autonomous Research. Advisers specializing in bank deals "are probably traveling the country pitching them right now."
With mergers of equals, companies tend to pay more reasonable valuation premiums than when a big bank acquires a smaller firm, making it more likely the transaction will pay off. Thursday's deal created the sixth-biggest U.S. bank and was, in press materials and executive interviews, repeatedly deemed a union between two similar institutions.
Regions, Citizens and Comerica are among banks facing the most deal speculation, according to Foran. "You can see the logic of Citizens getting together with a couple different banks, like M&T and Fifth Third, or Fifth Third getting together with Huntington or KeyBank," he said.