It was predicted in 2019 when banking giants SunTrust and BB&T merged to become Truist Bank that the marriage would lead to large-scale branch overlap and consolidation in many states, particularly several markets in Virginia.
Now, more than a year later, that consolidation has begun in earnest across the commonwealth, including in the Richmond region.
The combined bank recently closed a BB&T branch at 1366 Sycamore Square Drive in Midlothian and a SunTrust branch at 12551 Jefferson Davis Highway.
The pair was among 28 branches Truist closed across Virginia on Dec. 8, according to a notice it filed with the State Corporation Commission.
And there’s more to come.
A Truist spokeswoman said Monday the bank plans to close an additional 41 branches in Virginia this year, including eight in the Richmond market in notable areas such Short Pump, Church Hill and Willow Lawn.
The eight local branches, which all will close March 2, are being consolidated into nearby branches, part of Truist’s effort to create what it calls “blended branches.”
“Our blended branch concept, introduced in November 2020, is a natural next step for the many SunTrust and BB&T branches that are very close in proximity, many across the street or even in the same parking lot,” a spokesperson said in an email.
The two Chesterfield County branches that closed in December are examples of that blended approach. Sycamore Square had both a BB&T and SunTrust branch in the same parking lot. The shuttered Jefferson Davis Highway branch was a SunTrust branch in Bermuda Square Shopping Center and was combined into a BB&T branch across the street in the Breckenridge Shopping Center.
Here are the Richmond-area branches set to close March 2 and the locations they’ll be combined into:
- • SunTrust branch at 1101 Azalea Ave. to close in favor of BB&T at 5001 Lakeside Ave.
- • SunTrust at 1131 Gaskins Road in favor of BB&T at 11200 Patterson Ave.
- • SunTrust at 2065 Huguenot Road in favor of BB&T at 1500 Koger Center Blvd.
- • SunTrust at 10300 Midlothian Turnpike in favor of BB&T at 1500 Koger Center Blvd.
- • BB&T at 6201 River Road in favor of SunTrust at 5816 Grove Ave.
- • BB&T at 11704 W. Broad St. in favor of SunTrust at 11501 W. Broad St.
- • SunTrust at 1601 Willow Lawn Drive, Suite 302A in favor of BB&T at 5600 W. Broad St.
- • SunTrust Church at 2500 E. Broad St. in favor of SunTrust at 919 E. Main St.
The blended strategy includes signage on the branches with both the SunTrust and BB&T logos, ahead of an eventual rollout of the Truist brand across the board in 2022.
The bulk of the 28 Virginia closures in December were in Northern Virginia in places like Arlington and Fairfax. They also included locations in Hampton Roads, Roanoke and Staunton.
The banks said employees from the closed branches are being transferred to nearby locations, resulting in no job losses related to the transition.
BB&T and SunTrust closed their $66 billion mega-merger in December 2019, creating the sixth largest bank in the U.S. with more than $440 billion in total assets and 3,100 branches, mostly in the Southeast.
That included 71 locations around metro Richmond — 35 from SunTrust and 36 from BB&T.
As part of the combined cost cutting that would result from the deal, the bank said it estimated closing 800 branches nationwide. It committed to keeping the majority of overlapping branches open one year from the Dec. 6, 2019 closing.
Aside from its retail operations, Richmond could see additional ripples as BB&T and SunTrust settle into Truist.
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 previously said it’s too soon to discuss changes at any of those other affiliates, although SunTrust did confirm in 2019 its 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 at the time those relocations would take place in the next two years and could affect two or three dozen positions.
The downtown Richmond skyline may also change as a result, particularly as the Truist brand begins to make its formal debut on the bank’s buildings. The company still currently has its two legacy 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.