National Bank of Canada Chief Executive Officer Louis Vachon expects a new burst of mergers and acquisitions to help fuel earnings in the bank’s capital-markets business, continuing the strength it showed in the early days of the pandemic.

While volatility may be tapering off, Vachon said the return of a “merger and acquisition super cycle” may more than compensate, and has him feeling “quite positive” on the business for the foreseeable future.

“There is so much money on the side now from both strategic buyers and private equity players looking to deploy themselves in the economy to make acquisitions that the cycle is extremely strong,” Vachon said Thursday in an interview for the Bloomberg Canadian Fixed-Income Conference. “We feel it will accelerate in a post-pandemic world.”

On the consumer-lending side, Vachon said growth in mortgage volume has remained surprisingly healthy and helped counter compression in net interest margins that occurred as central banks across the world cut rates to prop up their economies.

“I was quite worried that we would see a collapse in loan-volume growth in March, and that’s not what has occurred,” Vachon said. “The real estate market has stayed quite active on the residential side.”