In the banking world, mergers and acquisitions are a valid and effective growth strategy -- if they're done right. PNC Financial Services (NYSE:PNC), BB&T (NYSE:BBT), and First Citizens Banshares (NASDAQ:FCNCA) are all testaments to this strategy's effectiveness.

There are a myriad of challenges across the enterprise, from an operations, credit, legal, and economic standpoint. But a strong economy that fuels strong growth can make the process much easier.

This week, a new survey reported by American Banker Magazine showed that bank executives are finally seeing the economy as improving -- to the point of getting back to M&A. In the following video, Fool contributor Jay Jenkins breaks down the numbers to give insights into what to expect from the regional players most likely to be active in this space.