Kelly King, left, is chairman and CEO of BB&T and will retain those titles after the merger to become Truist. Bill Rogers, right, chairman and CEO of SunTrust, will be president and chief operating officer of Truist. Photo: Truist
Photo: The Atlanta Journal-Constitution
Photo: The Atlanta Journal-Constitution

SunTrust shareholders OK BB&T merger to form Truist Bank

Shareholders of Atlanta-based SunTrust and North Carolina-based BB&T, banking rivals that are scheduled to become partners, have voted overwhelmingly to approve the pending merger.

The Tuesday votes mark another crucial step towards the completion of a deal that will form what is expected to be the nation’s sixth-largest bank. The new entity will be called Truist Bank. 

Nearly 99 percent of SunTrust shareholders who voted approved of the deal, which is expected to close this fall, pending regulatory approval. About 98 percent of BB&T shareholders voted to approve the combination and 96 percent voted in favor of the new name, the bank said.

“We are very pleased with the enthusiastic approval of our shareholders for the merger of SunTrust with BB&T to form Truist,” SunTrust Chairman and CEO Bill Rogers said in a news release. Rogers will be the president of the combined bank.

SunTrust and Winston-Salem, N.C.-based BB&T announced their corporate marriage in February. The new bank will be based in Charlotte. The combined company’s corporate and investment banking arm will be based in Atlanta, while the community bank headquarters will remain in Winston-Salem. 

SunTrust is Georgia’s largest bank and No. 1 in metro Atlanta in terms of deposits. It is second in total number of branches, with 154 offices as of June. 

BB&T, which has a regional hub in Atlantic Station, ranks fourth in total deposits and retail locations in the metro area.

“We’re very pleased BB&T shareholders have overwhelmingly supported both the merger of equals with SunTrust and the new Truist name,” said BB&T Chairman and CEO Kelly S. King, who will hold the same role in the combined Truist Bank. “This is an important milestone as we move toward our goal of creating a bold, transformative organization that benefits our shareholders, associates, clients and communities.”

The merger is expected to lead to cost reductions totaling $1.6 billion annually by 2022. Overlaps in the markets that the banks serve will undoubtedly mean branch closures and layoffs as the two behemoths combine and find redundant operations. 

The companies have been shuttering branches as business shifts to online channels. About 740 of the banks’ more than 3,000 branches are located within two miles of each other, offering prime targets for closings. 

Truist Financial will be the name of the parent company after regulatory approval of the merger, but the Truist Bank name will take as long as two years to deploy. But ultimately, the name will be splashed across the region, from bank branches to skyscrapers to the Atlanta Braves stadium in Cobb County.

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