Richmond-area branches intact for now as BB&T-SunTrust heads for finish line

The SunTrust Center (left) downtown at 919 E. Main St. On the right, BB&T’s name sits atop Riverfront Plaza on East Byrd Street. (BizSense file photos; screenshot courtesy Truist)

The massive planned marriage of banking giants BB&T and SunTrust took several big steps forward in recent weeks, none of which added any clarity about how the deal might ripple through the Richmond region.

The banks last month announced they had received regulatory approval for the deal, which will create the rebranded Truist Financial, a $442 billion Southeast behemoth that would be the sixth-largest bank in the U.S. based on total assets.

They now expect to complete the transaction on Friday, Dec. 6.

Regulators’ approval came after the banks agreed to sell 30 SunTrust branches to competitor First Horizon Bank to satisfy anti-competitive concerns.

Only eight of those 30 branches are in Virginia and none are in the Richmond metro area. That’s despite initial analyst predictions that parts of the commonwealth could be a sort of ground zero for consolidation, as the two banks have dozens of branches in close proximity.

Early on after the deal was announced, bankers cited statistics that found approximately 750 of the two banks’ combined 3,100 branches are within two miles of each other, including 282 in Virginia. Of those in the commonwealth, 200 are within one mile of each other and 144 are within a half-mile, known in the industry as “line of sight.”

Truist will open with 71 total locations around the Richmond metro area. (BizSense file photos)

Barring any 11th-hour branch closure announcements, the combined banks would open for business in Richmond post-merger on Dec. 9 with 71 total locations around the metro area, according to FDIC figures. That’s by far the largest physical footprint of any bank in the market.

More than a dozen of those are close enough to one another that they could be likely candidates for consolidation, although the banks say it’s too soon to make that call.

“We have not determined which branches may be consolidated, however our commitment to being an active member of our communities is unwavering and local branches will continue to play a key role in the combined company,” a SunTrust spokesman said in an email to BizSense last month.

Regardless of the branch count going forward, Truist would have nearly $8 billion in local deposits, combining SunTrust’s $4.6 billion and BB&T’s $3.1 billion. That would give the bank the region’s second-largest share of the deposits, behind only Bank of America and ahead of Wells Fargo.

The deal likely would affect other Richmond-area pieces of the combined companies.

In addition to their local retail branch operations, SunTrust has a major operation in Manchester, where the headquarters for its mortgage arm resides.

SunTrust confirmed this year that it plans to relocate parts of those mortgage operations, including the division’s top leadership, to Greensboro, North Carolina. It said those relocations would take place in the next two years and could affect two or three dozen positions.

“The combined mortgage business will continue to have a significant presence in both Richmond, Virginia, and Greenville, South Carolina,” the company said at the time.

The Manchester site encompasses two buildings totaling about 480,000 square feet at 901 and 1001 Semmes Ave.

The SunTrust Mortgage headquarters at 1001 Semmes Ave. (Photo by Michael Schwartz)

The SunTrust Mortgage headquarters at 1001 Semmes Ave. in Manchester. (BizSense file photo)

Richmond also is home to the headquarters of investment management firm BB&T Scott & Stringfellow, as well as investment banking arm BB&T Capital Markets. SunTrust’s investment banking division, SunTrust Robinson Humphrey, also has had a presence in Richmond.

The companies have said it’s too soon to discuss changes at any of those other affiliates.

The two companies employ a combined 4,600 workers around the region – 3,800 at SunTrust’s local outposts and 840 at BB&T, according to the most recent figures from the Greater Richmond Partnership.

The merger also may change the Richmond skyline, as both companies have their names on buildings downtown – with SunTrust’s atop its namesake SunTrust Center at 919 E. Main St. and BB&T’s across the face of one of the Riverfront Plaza towers on East Byrd Street.

It’s unclear whether, where and when the Truist name might appear atop a building downtown.

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Bert Hapablap
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Bert Hapablap

They won’t be safe for long. There’s way too much overlap and unfortunately that means a lot of closures and lost jobs.

Michael Dodson
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Michael Dodson

So true and SunTrust has been closing them left and right like crazy during the merger. Manchester/Hull Street and W Broad in Scott’s Addition in Richmond both closed. I drove to Mechanicsville for some black Friday shopping and the SunTrust Branch near Laburnum intersection is ATM only and the branch is a seafood place. BB&T has not been idle either with several rural communities (Sussex, Surry) losing branches as well. I have heard from insiders that SunTrust mortgage will eventually bleed out to SC.