Southeast regional banks BB&T and SunTrust said Thursday they would combine in the largest banking merger since the financial crisis, creating the sixth-largest U.S. lender.
BB&T will buy SunTrust for about $28 billion in stock but BB&T CEO Kelly S. King called it a “true merger of equals” that would provide “the scale needed to compete and win in the rapidly evolving world of financial services.”
The combined bank would have around $442 billion in assets, $301 billion in loans and $324 billion in deposits, rivaling U.S. Bancorp, which has about $467 billion in assets. Its footprint will cover the East Coast, with new corporate headquarters in Charlotte, N.C.
“The deal is intended to create a bank that is large enough to compete against the country’s largest lenders,” The New York Times said.
Analysts said the deal suggests that consolidation in the banking industry is picking up after languishing since post-crisis reforms imposed stricter rules on lenders with more than $50 billion in assets. The Trump administration and its appointees at the Federal Reserve have eased regulations and signaled a more relaxed approach with the country’s biggest banks.
“The BB&T/SunTrust merger will open more eyes on the potential for more sizeable bank M&A to occur,” Jefferies analyst Ken Usdin wrote in a client note.
According to Reuters, the two banks have hundreds of branches within two miles of each other but SunTrust has more of a commercial focus and larger clients, while BB&T has a substantial insurance business.
BB&T and SunTrust said the merger would produce annual cost savings of around $1.6 billion by 2022 and allow them to invest more heavily in new technology demanded by customers.
“The business has been changing and will be changing,” SunTrust Chief Executive William Rogers said. “This gives us the opportunity to be absolutely the most competitive bank.”
Under the terms of the deal, SunTrust shareholders will receive 1.295 shares of BB&T for each share they own. The per share deal value of $62.85 represents a 7% premium to SunTrust’s closing price on Wednesday.