Investors will find out Thursday afternoon which banks will be allowed to buy back shares and hike dividend payments.
That's when the Federal Reserve will announce the results of its review of the capital plans banks submitted for 2013.
While the Fed is expected to back most of the plans, analysts say a number of regional banks will be among the standouts.
In part one of the Fed's stress tests last week, all but one of the 18 banks it analyzed were found to have sufficient capital reserves to survive a downturn similar to the 2008 recession.
A total of nine banks in the group have already been returning capital in the form of either share buybacks or dividends. Of these, State Street, Northern Trust and KeyCorp are the most likely to increase payouts this year, according to Evercore Partners analyst Andrew Marquardt.
BB&T, Comerica and PNC are expected to maintain their current capital plans, or have slightly smaller payouts, he added.
Overall, the banks most likely to return capital are those that have been able to grow earnings and strengthen their balance sheets, said Marty Mosby, a banking analyst at Guggenheim Securities.
"The high quality banks didn't have the overhang issues coming out of the recession and were in a better position to recover earnings faster and deploy capital sooner," he said.
Mosby said Wells Fargo and JPMorgan both fit this description, but he also pointed to U.S. Bancorp as a good candidate to boost buybacks and dividends. Last year, the Minneapolis-based bank reported a 16% jump in net income to $5.6 billion, helped by a boost in lending and deposits.
SunTrust Banks could surprise investors with a buyback plan that gets approved, said Nomura Securities analyst Glenn Schorr. The Atlanta-based bank had its capital plan shot down last year.