SunTrust, BB&T, announce merger

SunTrust, BB&T, announce merger

A bank that got its start here in Eastern Carolina is merging with another financial institution to become the 6th largest bank in the country.

BB&T, or Branch Banking and Trust Company, was founded in Wilson, North Carolina, in 1872.

The only bank with the size and scale of the new merged BB&T-SunTrust would be Minneapolis-based U.S. Bank, which has a large presence in the Midwest and Rocky Mountains. It is offering SunTrust shareholders a premium on Wednesday's closing price of 1.295 BB&T shares for each SunTrust share. BB&T shareholders will own approximately 57 percent of the new company, with SunTrust shareholders owning the rest.

They will continue to maintain the Community Banking Center in Winston-Salem, NC and the Wholesale Banking Center in Atlanta. The timetable would have been improbable before the administration of U.S. President Donald Trump began easing crisis-era regulations, which had restricted expansion and boosted scrutiny of banks. SunTrust shares have been down about 10% over the past year, while BB&T had lost nearly 5% during the same time.

In the few hours since the deal was announced, both banks have been calling their biggest clients and shareholders to make sure they understand that the deal is "positive for everybody", King said on a conference call with analysts Thursday morning.

SunTrust's 39 local branches hold around $4.5 billion on deposits, while BB&T's 36 area branches house about $3.1 billion in deposits.

Ernst & Young expects a flurry of transactions this year, fueled by easing regulations and the US tax overhaul, which helped lenders build a war chest to spend on acquiring new clients and technology, the financial advisory firm said in a report last month. They said they'll now have top-three market share in eight states. The companies will operate banks from Pennsylvania to Florida, and as far west as Texas.

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SunTrust has 15 branches in Polk County, according to its website.

BB&T and SunTrust have about 740 branches within two miles of each other, or about 24 percent of all branch locations run by the banks.

"Number of banks in the United States has fallen 40% since 2000".

King will serve as chairman and CEO of the combined business until September 12, 2021.

"This is a true merger of equals, combining the best of both companies to create the premier financial institution of the future", BB&T Chairman and Chief Executive Officer Kelly King said in the statement. After that, he'll serve a further six months as executive chairman. On March 12, 2022, Rogers will also become Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of the combined company and its bank subsidiary. The new company's board will be evenly split between the banks' current boards of directors.

Shares of Atlanta-based SunTrust rose 10 percent to $64.60 before the opening bell, above the acquisition price, while those of BB&T rose 5 percent to $51.20.

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