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BB&T Corporation (Branch
Banking & Trust) (NYSE: BBT) is an
American bankwith assets of
$165.3 billion (June 2009), offering full-service commercial and retail banking services along with other
financial services like insurance, investments,
retail brokerage, mortgage, corporate finance, consumer finance, payment services, international
banking, leasingand trust.
Based in Winston-Salem, North Carolina, BB&T operates more than 1,850 financial centers in the United Statesof North Carolina, South Carolina, Virginia, Maryland, West Virginia, Kentucky, Tennessee, Georgia, Florida, Alabama, Indiana, Texas, and
in Washington, D.C..
It is also notable for certain
ideological stances taken by its management, and for its financial support of academic programs concerning the
"moral foundations of capitalism."
In June 2009, its chairman, John A. Allison IVdelivered a keynote address to a meeting of the
center-right Competitive Enterprise
Institute, where he said government
regulation caused the 2007-2009 financial
collapse. The bank had recently
been forced to accept $3.1 billion in bailout money through the U.S. Treasury's Troubled Asset Relief Program.
Earlier, in 2006, BB&T said it wouldn't lend money for
commercial projects on property acquired through eminent domain. This was a reaction to the United States Supreme Court's decision in Kelo v. New London in 2005 that such transfers are
BB&T's beginnings date back to 1872,
Thomas Jefferson Hadleyfounded the "Branch and Hadley" merchant bank in their small hometown
of Wilson, North Carolina. After many transactions, mostly with local farmers, Branch bought out
Hadley's shares in 1887 and renamed the company to "Branch and Company, Bankers". Two years later, Branch, his
father father-in-law Gen. Joshua Barnes, Hadley, and three other men, secured a charter from
the North Carolina General Assemblyto operate the "Wilson Banking and Trust
Company". After numerous additional name changes, the company finally settled on the name "Branch Banking and
Company". Branch remained an active member in the company until his death in 1893.
In 1900, all of Branch's banking companies consolidated as
Branch Banking and Company, allowing the institution to expand its services. In 1902 a savingsdepartment was created and in 1907 a trustdepartment was authorized; this made Branch's company the first in the
state to engage in trust activities. The bank made its final name change in 1913 to "Branch Banking and Trust",
or BB&T, to reflect its new activities.
BB&T sold Liberty Bondsduring World War Iand grew
to have more than $4 million in assetsby 1923.
An insurance divisionwas added in 1922, followed by a mortgage division in 1923. As banks
across the nation failed as a result of the 1929 Stock Market Crash, BB&T survived; it was the only one to do
so in the town of Wilson.
World War IIrevived BB&T. BB&T's prosperity continued into the 1960s, as mergersand acquisitionsgrew to company to $343 million in assets with new branches in 35 cities. By 1994, BB&T had
become North Carolina's largest bank with $10.5 billion in assets and 263 offices in 138 cities
in the Carolinas.
In 1995, BB&T and Southern National Bank, another bank with
roots in the eastern part of the state, completed a "merger of equals." In an unusual arrangement, the holding
company retained the Southern National name for a few years, but all of its banks took the BB&T name. This gave
the new BB&T 437 branches in 220 cities in the Carolinas and Virginia. The bank continued to expand nationwide through the 1990s, purchasing
Fidelity Federal Bankshares, First Financial of Petersburg, Maryland Federal Bancorp and Franklin
Bancorporation in the Virginia/Marylandarea. In
1999, BB&T acquired MainStreet Financial Corp. of Martinsville, and Mason-Dixon Bancshares of Westminster,
and further expanded into Georgiaand West Virginiaafter purchasing First Liberty of Macon and
From 2000 to 2005, BB&T acquired numerous smaller banks,
expanding into Tennessee, Kentucky, and
even Florida. By Dec. 31,
2005, BB&T Corporation had secured $109.2 billion in assets; operated more than 1,500 banking offices in 11
states and the District of Columbia; and had more than 28,000
In early 2007 BB&T acquired Coastal Federal Bank which is
primarily located in Myrtle Beach, South Carolina. It has been one of the Carolina's fastest growing banks. After
BB&T's announcement of an opportunity for a "merger of equals" it's often been speculated for a merger with
either Regions Financialof Birminghamor Fifth Thirdof Cincinnati.
In late 2008 the bank was forced to accept $3.1 billion in
bailout money through the sale of its preferred shares to the U.S. Treasury's Troubled Asset Relief Program. The bank said in June 2009 that it had
received approval to repurchase the shares. Also in June 2009,
its chairman, John A. Allison IVdelivered a keynote address to a meeting of the Competitive Enterprise
Institute, where he claimed to show
how government regulation caused the 2007-2009 financial
On August 15, 2009, it was announced that the deposits and loan
accounts of the Colonial Bank were being transferred to BB&T as
part of Colonial Bank's receivership by the FDIC. This acquisition
added over 340 branches in Alabama, Florida,
Georgia, Nevadaand Texasalong with
approximately $26 billion in assets. This moved BB&T Corporation to the 8th largest commercial bank in the
United States based on deposits. BB&T quickly flipped the Nevada branch to U.S. Bancorp(dropping it to 10th overall), but hung on
to its Texas branches, despite the Texas branches being outside of its historical