Atlanta Partner Jonathan Hightower was quoted Jan. 4 by American Banker regarding how bank consolidation may be effected by the stock market in 2109. Industry observers are divided as to whether activity will keep pace with the 258 deals, and nearly $30 billion in volume, of last year. The thought is that it will likely take time for buyers and sellers to adjust pricing to account for swooning stock prices. At the same time, the underlying reasons for bank M&A remain the same, including a need for cheap deposits, operating leverage and scale. “I expect a modest slowdown. The market sell-off currently taking place may get us off to a slow start, and the trend is certainly that there are fewer and fewer desirable targets each year,” Hightower said.