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US banks BB&T and SunTrust get final approval of merger

By AFP - Nov 20,2019 - Last updated at Nov 20,2019

This combination of photos, created on February 7, shows the logos of SunTrust Bank on December 30, 2014, in Washington, DC; and BB&T Bank on April 13, 2012, in Washington, DC (AFP file photo)

NEW YORK — BB&T and SunTrust got final approval on Tuesday for their plan to join forces, creating a regional banking giant in the industry’s largest merger since the 2008 financial crisis.

The Federal Reserves (Fed) and Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation both gave a green light allowing the midsize banks to join forces, creating the sixth largest US commercial bank.

The new entity — Truist Financial Corporation — will have combined assets of over $450 billion and deposits of over $330 billion, the Fed said.

The banks, which operate in the southeastern United States, announced the union in February, and said they plan to conclude the deal December 6 and the conversion will take two years.

The companies called it a merger of equals and said it would enable them to compete against heavyweights like Bank of America and Wells Fargo and save some $1.6 billion in administrative costs.

“We are pleased to have received regulatory approval to merge two strong companies with complementary business models and a high level of cultural alignment,” BB&T Chairman and CEO Kelly King said in a statement. “We’ll be even better together.”

As a condition of the approval, BB&T must divest 30 bank branches with more than $2.4 billion in deposits “to mitigate the competitive effects of the merger”, the Fed said in its announcement.

The Justice Department’s anti-trust division approved the merger on November 8 and required the two banks to divest 28 branches across North Carolina and Virginia.

Bank executives had touted the benefits of combining their technology budgets to boost digital banking offerings as the industry scales back retail branches in response to shifting consumer habits.

Atlanta, Georgia-based SunTrust and BB&T of Winston-Salem, North Carolina, said the combined company will be based in Charlotte, North Carolina.

BB&T will hold 57 per cent of the combined company and King will lead the combined company through September 2021, when he will become executive chairman.

SunTrust Chief Executive William Rogers Jr, who will begin as president and chief operating officer, will take over as chief executive when King steps down.

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