BB&T-SunTrust deal closes

Truist is now the sixth-largest bank in the U.S. after the merger. (File photos by BizSense & screenshot courtesy Truist)

Banking giants BB&T and SunTrust have tied the knot in a deal that’s sure to bring noticeable changes to the Richmond banking market.

The banks on Friday finalized their massive merger, an all-stock deal valued at $66 billion, in which BB&T is technically the acquirer.

They opened for business this morning as a combined company with $442 billion in total assets, making it the sixth-largest bank in the U.S.

It has a combined 3,100 branches, mostly around the Southeast. That includes 71 locations around metro Richmond – 35 from SunTrust and 36 from BB&T. That gives it by far the largest physical footprint of any bank in the market.

But the successor brand – Truist – won’t show up in the area immediately.

SunTrust spokesman Mike McCoy on Friday said “the brand conversion along with systems supporting branch operations will occur over the next 18-24 months.”

McCoy added: “BB&T and SunTrust branches will continue to operate as they do today and clients will continue to bank with their respective branches just as they do today.”

In addition to an eventual new name, other changes are expected locally as a result of the deal over time.

Industry observers expect branch consolidation, as the two banks have locations that overlap geographically. Bankers cited statistics in the month since the deal was announced 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.”

More than a dozen of its Richmond-area locations 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.

The company now has 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.

Aside from its retail operations, SunTrust keeps the headquarters of its mortgage arm in Manchester on Richmond’s Southside. Richmond is also home to 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, although SunTrust did confirm earlier this year that it plans to relocate parts of its mortgage operations, including the division’s top leadership, to Greensboro, North Carolina, as part of the merger. It said those relocations would take place in the next two years and could affect two or three dozen positions.

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 downtown Richmond skyline may also change as a result. Both companies have their names atop buildings downtown – with SunTrust’s on 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.

The Truist name itself has caused some controversy, as the combined companies continue a trademark dispute filed by Truliant Federal Credit Union.

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