In a deal that is said to be the largest banking merger since the late 1990s, BB&T Corp. has announced that it will buy SunTrust Bank Inc. for approximately $28 billion. The two banks will form the nation’s sixth largest traditional bank with $442 billion in total combined assets by the end of the year.

“This is a true merger of equals, combining the best of both companies to create the premier financial institution of the future,” Kelly King, BB&T’s chairman and chief executive, said in a statement. The two banks combined will now have a top-three market share in eight states.

King, 69, will remain as the combined bank’s chairman and chief executive until September 12, 2021. The combined bank’s headquarters will be in Charlotte, NC and will feature the bank’s digital platform, while Winston-Salem and Atlanta headquarters will most likely see several corporate jobs transfer to Charlotte. Winston-Salem will continue the community banking center operations, and SunTrust will retain wholesale banking.

“Also, I believe long term the number of jobs here will actually increase,” said Joines, basing his pediction on how BB&T has nearly doubled the number of workers in its former hometown of Wilson to more than 2,000 since moving to Winston-Salem in 1995.

The banks expect to generate $1.6 billion in annual net cost synergies by 2022 and $2 billion in one-time merger fees are anticipated. The main sources of cost savings are expected to be in facilities, information technology/systems, shared services, retail banking, and third-party vendors. The banks have significant branch overlap in the Southeast, particularly in North Carolina and Georgia.

“Importantly, both companies intend to cease their share repurchase efforts until the merger closes” said Chris Marinac, managing principal of FIG Partners of Atlanta “Our expectation is for a moderately share price positive open on BB&T and SunTrust shares given the financial benefits and removing a long-term competitor for BB&T, plus the small premium being paid to SunTrust,”.

“We also think BB&T is an excellent partner when it comes to ‘all cards on the table’ with respect to the important social issues – in our experience not every merger partner has the same level of integrity. BB&T is highly likely to perform well here,” Marinac said.