Southeastern regional banks BB&T and SunTrust will attempt to join in an all-stock deal, creating a new bank that would be the sixth largest in the US based on assets and deposits. It would have approximately $442 billion in assets, $301 billion in loans, and $324 billion in deposits, serving more than 10 million households. The new bank's market value is estimated at $76 billion, per the AP. BB&T and SunTrust have about 740 branches within 2 miles of each other, or about 24% of all branch locations run by the banks. BB&T Chairman and CEO Kelly King said during a conference call that the companies will be "careful and methodical" about which branches they close.
The companies operate banks from Pennsylvania to Florida, and as far west as Texas. Regional banks can be a bellwether for local economies, and the willingness to pursue a deal of this size can be taken as a signal of optimism. Investors sent shares of both banks sharply higher at the opening bell, and industry analysts saw a lot of potential. "This deal is attractive since you are combining two high-performing companies with attractive business mix and geography," wrote Citi analyst Keith Horowitz. The US economy has been sizzling over the last year. The Commerce Department estimated last month that the economy, as measured by the gross domestic product, grew at a brisk 3.4% rate in the July-September quarter.
(Read more banking industry