Regional banks BB&T Corp. and SunTrust Banks Inc. plan to merge in a $66 billion, all-stock deal, the banks announced Thursday morning.

The two financial institutions, which have major presence in the Richmond region, will combine in what they call a merger of equals.

The combined company would operate under a new name and brand, which will be determined prior to completing the deal. The merger is expected to close in the fourth quarter, subject to regulatory and shareholders approval.

The deal would create the sixth-largest U.S. bank based on assets and deposits. It would have about $442 billion in assets, $301 billion in loans, and $324 billion in deposits serving more than 10 million households in the United States.

The combined company's board of directors and executive management team will be evenly split between the two institutions.

A new corporate headquarters will be established in Charlotte, N.C. BB&T calls Winston-Salem, N.C. its home and Atlanta is headquarters for SunTrust.

Under the terms of the merger agreement, SunTrust shareholders will receive 1.295 shares of BB&T for each SunTrust share they own. BB&T shareholders will own approximately 57 percent and SunTrust shareholders will own approximately 43 percent of the combined company.

"This is a true merger of equals, combining the best of both companies to create the premier financial institution of the future," said BB&T Chairman and Chief Executive Officer Kelly S. King.

William H. Rogers Jr., chairman and chief xecutive officer of SunTrust, said, "By bringing together these two mission- and purpose-driven institutions, we will accelerate our capacity to invest in transformational technologies for our clients. Our shared culture embraces the disruption of technology and we will take this innovative mindset to expand our leadership in the next chapter of these historic brands.

In addition to regional banking operations and branches for both banks, the Richmond region is also is home to SunTrust Mortgage Inc.'s operations. The region also is headquarters for BB&T Scott & Stringfellow, a full-service regional brokerage and investment banking firm serving individual, institutional, corporate and municipal clients.

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