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A changing industry map

Recent acquisitions create major players in banking

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Print this page by Robert Powell
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Union Bankshares intends to rebrand Union Bank & Trust as Atlantic Union Bank
starting in May. Photo by Rick DeBerry

The landscape of Virginia’s banking industry is changing.

Two of the biggest banking companies operating in Virginia, SunTrust Banks Inc. and BB&T Corp., have announced a $66 billion merger.

The resulting Charlotte-based bank would be the sixth-largest in the U.S., with total assets of $42 billion. The combined bank will have a new name, which will be decided before the deal is completed in the fourth quarter.

In Virginia, Atlanta-based SunTrust and Winston-Salem, N.C.-based BB&T ranked as the fifth and seventh biggest banks, respectively, in terms of deposits held on June 30, 2018, according to the FDIC.

The merger would create a financial institution with combined Virginia deposits of more than $44 billion, vaulting it ahead of third-ranked Wells Fargo & Co., whose state deposit total was $35.5 billion at end of June.

The combined bank would become the de-facto state market leader. The top two companies on the FDIC’s Virginia list, Capital One Bank USA and E*Trade Bank, are based in Virginia but provide banking services throughout the country.

On June 30, BB&T had 303 branches in Virginia, while SunTrust had 181. Those numbers could fall as the merger partners seek ways to cut $1.6 billion in annual expenses by 2022.

SunTrust Mortgage is based in Richmond as is the brokerage and investment banking firm BB&T Scott & Stringfellow.

While SunTrust and BB&T make plans to combine, Richmond-based Union Bankshares is absorbing its latest acquisition, Reston-based Access Bank.

The $500 million, all-stock deal secured what Union CEO John Asbury describes as the “last piece of the puzzle” in creating a statewide, Virginia-based regional bank. There hasn’t been a regional bank with headquarters in the commonwealth since banks such as Crestar, Signet and Sovran were sold to out-of-state companies more than 20 years ago.

Union now has total assets of approximately $16.8 billion and deposits of about $12.2 billion.

With its acquisition of Access Bank and Xenith Bank last year, Union plans to rebrand its operations as Atlantic Union Bank starting in May.

Meanwhile, another Virginia-based bank is expanding. The parent company of Danville-based American National Bank and Trust is acquiring Roanoke-based HomeTown Bank. The $95.6 million deal is scheduled to close this year.

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