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 John TrumpPence: It's not a "foregone conclusion" that lawmakers impeach Trump FBI identifies Pensacola shooter as Saudi Royal Saudi Air Force second lieutenant Trump calls Warren 'Pocahontas,' knocks wealth tax 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 WatersDemocrats could introduce articles of impeachment next week What are not criteria for impeachment? Fed's top regulator takes heat from both parties 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 LuetkemeyerFederal regulators clear BB&T-SunTrust merger, creating sixth-largest US bank A new standard by Financial Accounting Standards Board should be reconsidered Senate bill seeks to bring freedom back to banking 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.”