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Federal regulators clear BB&T-SunTrust merger, creating sixth-largest US bank

Federal regulators clear BB&T-SunTrust merger, creating sixth-largest US bank
© Greg Nash

The Federal Reserve Board and the Federal Deposit Insurance Corp. (FDIC) announced Tuesday their approval of the merger of BB&T Corp. and SunTrust Banks. Inc. into what will be known as Truist Bank.

Once the merger is finalized, Truist will become the sixth largest U.S. bank, boasting $467 billion in assets and hundreds of branches spanning from New Jersey to Texas.  All five members of the Fed’s board of governors voted to approve the merger, as did the four members of the FDIC board.

The merger of North Carolina-based BB&T and Atlanta-based SunTrust is conditioned on the sale of 30 BB&T branches to limit the new company from wielding too much power in the mid-Atlantic market. The Fed also issued a consent order Tuesday against SunTrust for misleading sales practices, forcing the bank to pay $5 million in restitution to customers.

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The merger is the largest bank acquisition since the 2007 crisis and follows three years of lawmakers and regulators loosening financial regulations under President TrumpDonald TrumpSchumer: Impeachment trial will be quick, doesn't need a lot of witnesses Nurse to be tapped by Biden as acting surgeon general: report Schumer calls for Biden to declare climate emergency MORE

Democrats and industry skeptics expressed concerns this summer that Truist could pose dangers to consumers and the broader financial sector.

Rep. Maxine WatersMaxine Moore WatersCapitol Police report warned that Congress could be targeted three days before riot Democrats point fingers on whether Capitol rioters had inside help Lawmakers warned police of possible attack ahead of siege MORE (D-Calif.), chairwoman of the House Financial Services Committee, said during July hearing that she feared the merger “will create yet another megabank that is too big to manage and that poses a risk to our financial system.”

Republicans such as Rep. Blaine LuetkemeyerWilliam (Blaine) Blaine LuetkemeyerThe Hill's Morning Report - Biden: Focus on vaccine, virus, travel Commerce Bank joins companies halting support for officials who opposed Biden transition READ: The Republicans who voted to challenge election results MORE (Mo.) countered that “size is a not a legally disqualifying characteristic for bank mergers, nor a reason to villainize two companies following the merger process.”