The combined company will have about $442 billion in assets, $301 billion in loans and $324 billion in deposits, serving more than 10 million households in 17 states and the District of Columbia.
The two companies called it a merger of equals, valued at $66 billion.
The banks said Thursday that the merged company will be the sixth-largest USA bank based on assets and deposits.
A Wachtell Lipton memo said the speed of the approvals was evidence of an "increasingly favorable regulatory environment for bank M&A".
Ernst & Young expects a flurry of transactions this year, fueled by easing regulations and the USA tax overhaul, which helped lenders build a war chest to spend on acquiring new clients and technology, the financial advisory firm said in a report last month.
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In December, BB&T said it was eliminating its Center City Allentown regional headquarters as well as positions held by Scott V. Fainor and David B. Kennedy, former executives at National Penn Bancshares and longtime Lehigh Valley bankers.
The deal comes at a time when Charlotte has been in a close race with San Francisco for the title of second-largest USA banking center.
Big bank mergers had been nonexistent after the financial crisis, when a flurry of government-directed mergers created a handful of megabanks.
The combined company will be the sixth-largest retail bank in the country, putting BB&T and SunTrust in the ranks of other megabanks like JPMorgan Chase, Bank of America and Wells Fargo. The new merged bank will have a new name, the companies said, and will be headquartered in Charlotte, North Carolina. A new corporate headquarters will be established in Charlotte, N.C., including an Innovation and Technology Center to drive digital transformation.
Since that time, the gap between the size of the big Wall Street banks and the regional banks like BB&T, SunTrust, PNC Bank, Fifth-Third and others has only widened.
William H. Rogers, Jr., Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of SunTrust will serve as President and Chief Operating Officer of the combined company and its bank subsidiary until September 12, 2021, at which time he will become Chief Executive Officer of the combined company and its bank subsidiary. Even though BB&T shareholders will end up with a majority of shares, a key point for SunTrust was that the deal would treat the banks as equals. Shareholders of Winston-Salem, North Carolina-based BB&T will own approximately 57 per cent of the combined company and Atlanta-based SunTrust's holders will own about 43 per cent. They include Chris Henson, Clarke Starnes (Chief Risk Officer), Daryl Bible (Chief Financial Officer), Allison Dukes, Brant Standridge, David Weaver, Dontá Wilson, Ellen Fitzsimmons, Ellen Koebler, Hugh (Beau) Cummins, Joseph Thompson and Scott Case. After that, he will serve as executive chairman for six months. He will remain on the board of directors until the end of 2023.
Shares of SunTrust jumped 9.8 percent before the market open, while BB&T's stock rose 5.5 percent.