Federal bank regulators on Tuesday approved the merger of SunTrust Banks and rival BB&T, removing the final hurdle for the financial giants to merge into the nation’s sixth-largest bank.
Atlanta-based SunTrust and Winston-Salem, N.C.-based BB&T announced plans in February to join forces. The combined bank will be based in Charlotte, though Atlanta will retain the corporate and investment banking division of what will be known as Truist Bank.
The Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System and the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation granted approval and the banks said in a news release they expect the deal to be completed Dec. 6, the companies said in a news release.
“We are pleased to have received regulatory approval to merge two strong companies with complementary business models and a high level of cultural alignment,” said BB&T Chairman and CEO Kelly King, who retains those two roles with Truist.
The U.S. Department of Justice signed off earlier this month following an anti-trust review that resulted in the divestiture of bank branches in Georgia, North Carolina and Virginia.
Based in its namesake tower on Peachtree Street in downtown Atlanta, SunTrust is Georgia’s largest bank. It is No. 1 in metro Atlanta in terms of deposits and second in total number of branches. BB&T, which has a regional hub in Atlantic Station, ranks fourth in total deposits and retail locations in the metro area.
When the companies announced the merger in February, executives said they expected to find 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.
SunTrust and BB&T customers will continue to do business with their current branch networks, websites, mobile apps, checks and payment cards. The conversion of the banks to the Truist brand is expected to take place over about two years.
“We will build upon our mission- and purpose-driven cultures and work to ensure a positive experience for our clients,” SunTrust Chairman and CEO Bill Rogers said in the release. Rogers will be Truist’s president and chief operating officer before succeeding King as CEO in September 2021.
“Following months of thoughtful collaborative planning, we are prepared to begin a successful integration,” Rogers said.
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