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Merger of BB&T and SunTrust banks creates opportunities for rivals

In some markets, the new Truist could be forced to divest hundreds of offices to assuage antitrust concerns. Some competitors may seek to buy portfolios of those branches and their customers.

The biggest bank merger since the Great Recession should open up opportunities for other Southwest Florida lenders looking to grow.

The $28 billion combination of BB&T and SunTrust banks will create the second largest bank by deposits in the Sarasota-Manatee region, as well as the No. 6 financial institution in the U.S.

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SunTrust currently operates 29 offices in Sarasota-Manatee, while BB&T has 16. That will change when then two combine under the new name Truist Bank, forcing them to close and consolidate branches that overlap and giving rival banks a chance to grab new customers.

The two bank's downtown Sarasota headquarters, for example, are one block apart, with SunTrust in a 10-story building it owns on Main Street, and BB&T leasing space in the nine-story Spector building a block north on 2nd Street.

SunTrust and BB&T Merger: What You Need to Know

It’s been more than a half-year since BB&T and SunTrust announced they were merging, and though the merger is chugging along, the banks’ customers may still have a little while before they need to adjust to any changes.

The SunTrust and BB&T merger is not expected to close until later in 2019, and the two banks will remain operating as two separate companies, they say.

Consumers will not face any changes to their accounts, including with their interest rates, credit cards , automatic bill pay and mobile apps, for several months or longer , until the new bank company, to be called Truist Financial, is fully integrated.

“We expect the transaction to close … in the fourth quarter of this year,” says Brian Davis, director of corporate communications at BB&T. “Once that happens, we will continue to serve clients through the legacy BB&T and SunTrust brands for some time until the two companies’ systems are merged.”

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