BB&T Bank's conversion efforts on track, acquisitions in doubt
By Zachary S. Fagenson
BB&T Bank's plans to convert all of former Colonial Bank's branches to its own on Memorial Day Weekend are on track, but how the bank will grow in coming years is now unclear.
"Any acquisitions we [would make] would be [Federal Deposit Insurance Corp.] assisted," said Rob Bowlby, BB&T's Miami city president. Monday's "acquisition of Mercantile Bank wasn't even FDIC assisted and that may make us sit on the sidelines.
"We don't overpay when we make an acquisition," he added.
Earlier this week TD Bank Financial Group signed an agreement to purchase Mercantile Bank's parent company, South Financial Group, for $61 million.
North Carolina-based BB&T Corp. on Aug. 14 took over $20 billion in deposits and $25 billion in assets from Alabama-based Colonial Bank after it was seized by regulators. The move added 76 branches to BB&T's South Florida market — which stretches from St. Lucie to Monroe counties — and 24 in Miami-Dade.
Previously BB&T had 107 branches throughout Florida, most in the center of the state.
Meanwhile, the bank is making last-minute preparations for the forthcoming, footprint-wide rebranding.
All BB&T branches will close at 2 p.m. Friday, May 28, Mr. Bowlby said, and reopen Tuesday, June 1, as "full-service BB&T branches."
"Upon conversion, clients will be introduced to all of BB&T's products and services, which includes all of the traditional banking products plus our investment products, our insurance products and our international products," Mr. Bowlby said in a March interview. "Here in Miami, we have expanded our mortgage lending capabilities and our investment service by hiring several mortgage loan officers and investment counselors."
And the bank, he added, is still bolstering its ranks in those areas.
To help smooth the transition, BB&T is bringing about 50 "buddies" to Miami-Dade for two weeks "to make sure everything goes really well in case people don't know who to call with a problem or how to find something in the new data system," Mr. Bowlby said.
In moving Colonial's assets and deposits to BB&T, the FDIC agreed to bear the losses on $3 billion worth of Colonial's riskiest assets. BB&T bears the loss on an additional $7 billion and the two share losses on the remaining $15 billion. The agreement is similar to the one the FDIC gave the consortium of private-equity firms that purchased BankUnited in late May 2008 for about $900 million.
BB&T earned $78.9 million in net income for the quarter ending Dec. 31, according to the FDIC's website. It also held about $160 billion in assets and $114 billion in deposits.