In the wake of the Bank of America/Countrywide merger, numerous media outlets are reporting this morning that JP Morgan Chase is the latest financial institution hunting for an acquisition. CNBC reported Friday morning that the investment bank has had what it characterized as "very preliminary" talks with Seattle-based Washington Mutual, who has been hit hard in recent months as the mortgage crisis has intensified. The report suggests that JP Morgan also may be interested in two other regional banks, SunTrust Banks Inc. and PNC Financial Services, saying that one of the three are likely to be acquired "sometime this year." Industry sources suggested to HW that JP Morgan's interest in WaMu may be tied to its strong retail presence in the Western states.