Winston-Salem based BB&T has announced a today to buy Susquehanna Bank. The $2.5 billion deal adds 245 new branches to BB&T, and extends the bank's reach into Pennsylvania and New Jersey. Much of Susquehanna's growth comes in more rural markets - something BB&T hopes to capitalize on:
"One of the things we learned through the downturn over the last six years is that you don't want to have all of your franchise in high-growth markets, you want to have diversification," said CFO Daryl Bible. "This gives us a lot of good geographical diversification by getting into these markets."
BB&T will gain ground in Pennsylvania, New Jersey, West Virginia and Maryland. The move comes just months after a deal pushed BB&T into markets in Texas and Kentucky. The company points to this week's deal with a mid-sized bank as a turning point after post-recession financial rules were written.
"This is the first [deal] of it's kind since the new rules and regulations have been adopted," said Bible. "So, I think the industry's really watching this transaction, making sure that it closes. It could spur more activity down the road."
Susquehanna has about $18.6 billion in assets. The deal is expected to close in the second half of 2015.