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Insurance Journal Apr 6
BB&T Insurance Holdings, which is owned by financial services firm BB&T Corp., has agreed to acquire another bank-owned insurance broker, Regions Insurance Group, from Regions Financial Corp. No terms were disclosed. Memphis-based Regions...

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BB&T Corporation (NYSE: BBT) shares pulled back along with the broader market last week, although they have recouped part of their losses since then. The Analyst B Riley FBR analyst Steve Moss upgraded shares of BB&T from Neutral to Buy and...
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A system outage left BB&T customers unable to access account information.
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BB&T Corporation (NYSE: BBT) is a bank holding company with operations in 11 Southern states and Washington D.C. [1]. The company has $136.5 billion in assets under management, making it the 14th largest bank in the U.S.[2] The bank mainly serves consumers and small, regional businesses. In the midst of the 2008 financial crisis, BB&T posted a 3rd quarter net income of $358M, a 19% decline from the previous year.[3] Thus, while it has fared better than many other banks, BB&T has not escaped the effects of the credit crunch. It has suffered $364M in credit-related losses, and 9% of its gross loan portfolio was given to homebuilders, many of whom could not repay BB&T.[4] In addition, BB&T faces deteriorating economic conditions in many Southern states, which curtail consumers' and businesses' willingness to take out loans with higher interest rates. These factors drag down the company's ability to maintain a high net interest margin, and therefore its profitability. However, in comparison to many other banks, BB&T has managed to retain a healthy margin at 3.7%.[3]


In the aftermath of the Civil War, Eastern North Carolina lay tattered, battered and torn ... an easy mark for profiteers and politicians bent on destroying what little remained. There was no money, no law and precious little trust or faith in the once-proud institutions of the South.

Alpheus Branch, established a small mercantile business called Branch and Company. He joined forces in 1872 with Hadley. As private bankers, Branch and Hadley accepted time deposits, paid interest and loaned money to help rebuild the farms and small businesses in the community. With a place to borrow money at reasonable interest to buy seed and fertilizer, area farmers planted their fields in cotton and in the early 1880s, experimented with a new money crop, tobacco. In 1887, Branch bought Hadley’s interest in the bank for $81,000 and changed its name to Branch and Company, Bankers.

In 1889, Branch, and others secured a charter from the North Carolina Legislature to operate the Wilson Banking and Trust Company (later amended to the State Bank of Wilson and later to Branch Banking and Company). However, the charter was not implemented until 1900. Alpheus Branch died Jan. 3, 1893. The bank continued to grow in the years that followed. In 1900, Branch and Company, Bankers, was sold to Branch Banking and Company, holder of the state charter. On Dec. 20, 1902, the bank opened a savings department, paying four percent interest compounded quarterly.

Prior to 1900, virtually no trust business was conducted in North Carolina by institutions. The 1889 state charter authorized the bank to organize a trust department, but changes in the law delayed implementation until 1907, when Branch Banking and Company became the first bank in the state in engage actively in trust activities. In 1913, the charter was amended to change the name to Branch Banking and Trust Company.

By 1923, BB&T had exceeded $4 million in assets, a 307 percent increase since 1914. Four new offices were established, an insurance department opened in 1922, and the mortgage loan department began in 1923.

Stock market crash

With the stock market crash of 1929, banks that had invested heavily in stocks began to fail. From January 1930 to January 1932, 131 state banks in North Carolina failed. By Dec. 30, 1931, the other seven banks in Wilson had closed. At BB&T, many customers withdrew funds to deposit at the Post Office in Postal Savings, the only apparent safe investment. What they didn’t know was that postal officials took that same money and deposited it in BB&T. While public confidence in banks had disintegrated, the government’s faith in BB&T had not. [5] BB&T continues to grow from mergers, acquisitions and new branches. 

Business Overview

BB&T is organized as a group of community banks.[1] The company has more than 1,500 branches in North Carolina, South Carolina, Maryland, Virginia, West Virginia, Kentucky, Tennessee, Georgia, Florida, Alabama, Indiana and Washington, DC.[2]


BB&T's strategy involves diversifying the company's revenues through mergers and acquisitions. This strategy has led to 5-year growth in average total assets, loans and deposits of 10.8%, 11.6%, and 11.2% respectively.[2]

A community bank in 1872, they have a strategy of providing responsive, localized customer service. BB&T’s banking subsidiaries are organized as a group of community banks, each with a regional president, to allow local autonomy and local decision making. They encourage each subsidiary to match its operating style and services with the needs and desires of its local community. [6]

Community Banking Concept

Try's to keep its hometown appeal. 95% of key banking decisions are made locally either at the city or the regional level. By dividing the Carolinas, Virginia, Alabama, Kentucky, Florida, Georgia, West Virginia, Maryland, Tennessee, Indiana, Texas and Washington, D.C., into 36 regions, each with its own president, BB&T operates on a more personal level with individual and business clients.

In essence, each region operates like a smaller community bank and its regional community president acts much like the chairman of that bank. This provides BB&T clients all the advantages of a major financial institution as well as the kind of specialized attention they expect from a hometown bank. [7]

Financial services

BB&T is one of the largest financial services holding companies in the U.S. with $174.6 billion in assets and market capitalization of $17.5 billion as of Dec. 31, 2011. Based in Winston-Salem, N.C., the company operates approximately 1,800 financial centers in 12 states and Washington, D.C., and offers a full range of consumer and commercial banking, securities brokerage, asset management, mortgage and insurance products and services. A Fortune 500 company, BB&T is consistently recognized for outstanding client satisfaction by J.D. Power and Associates, the U.S. Small Business Administration, Greenwich Associates and others. [8]

In national categories for both small business and middle market banking, BB&T received Greenwich Excellence Awards in:

Overall satisfaction Personal banking – overall satisfaction Financial stability Treasury management – overall satisfaction [9]

Dividend growth

BB&T Corporation (NYSE: BBT) has a 10-year compound annual dividend growth rate of 12.3 percent (compared with 5.3 percent for the S&P 500). Over the last five years, BB&T’s total compound annual return to shareholders has been 7.8 percent compared with 6.2 percent for the S&P 500. The 10-year total compound annual return to shareholders has been 12.5 percent compared with 9.4 percent for the S&P 500. [10]

PERIOD ENDING, in thousands Jun 30, 2008 Mar 31, 2008 Dec 31, 2007 Sept 30, 2007
Total Revenue$2,617,000$2,666,000$2,729,000$2,699,000
Cost of Revenue$455,000$564,000$655,000$679,000
Gross Profit$2,162,000$2,102,000$2,074,000$2,020,000
Net Income$428,000$428,000$411,000$444,000
Source: Yahoo Finance.[11]

Business and Financial Metrics

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Source: BBT 10-Q, pg 64 [12]

2007 was the 26th consecutive year that BB&T netted record earnings. 2007 net income was $1.73 billion, a 13.5% increase from 2006, and operating income totaled $1.75 billion, a 2.5% increase from 2006. BB&T increased its market share in every state while maintaining the lead in West Virginia. [13]

Market Share 2007 Market Share 2006 Rank % Increase in Deposits
Virginia/ Washington, D.C.13.5%13.1%21.9%
North Carolina17.6%17.527.3
West Virginia18.117.716.7
South Carolina11.910.8321.9
Source: 2007 Annual Review[13]

Additionally, BB&T increased the number of online banking clients by 21% and opened 35 new offices. By acquiring Coastal Financial of South Carolina and the mortgage banking firm, Collateral Real Estate Capital, BB&T was able to create a commercial mortgage servicing portfolio of $20 billion. [13]

Business Segments

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Source: BBT 10-Q[12]

BB&T is broken down into five major segments that have seen both loss and growth from FY 2006 to FY 2007.

  • Banking Network (73% of net revenue) - This business segment serves both individual and business clients by providing loans and deposits. The number of banking offices increased from 1459 banking offices in 2006 to 1,492 banking offices at the end of 2007.[2][14]
  • Residential Mortgage Banking (8% of net revenue) - This business segment holds the mortgage-related loans provided by the Banking Network and other partner originators.There was a $32 million increase in net income for the Residential Mortgage Banking segment due to the use of fair value accounting for loans held for sale and from the growth in mortgage loans held for investment.[12] [14]
  • Insurance Services (4% of net revenue) - This business segment serves both businesses and individuals by providing casualty, life, property, and heath insurances. There was a decline of $19 million in this segment as a result of a pre-tax gain of $19 million earned on an insurance operation sale.[12] [14]
  • Financial Services (5% of net revenue) - The business segment provides advice in the areas of senior debt, loan syndication, structured finance, and interest rate derivatives. There was a $20 million increase of net income in this segment due to a strong performing corporate banking division. [12]
  • Treasury (7% of net revenue) - This business segment manages a client's securities portfolio, interest rate risk, and overall balance sheets.[14] There was an increase of $120 million in net income in the Treasury segment due to the $53 million of securities gains and the decline in short term rates.[12]

Trends and Forces

Subprime Loans

BB&T has been hard hit by the 2008 Financial Crisis. The bank reported a 19% decline in net income in Q3 FY08, to $358M.[3] In addition to problems related to the housing market, the bank has invested in construction projects that cannot now be completed because demand has fallen (9% of the company's gross loan book is allocated to residential homebuilder loans[15]). Consequently, BB&T has lost money on the residential development loans given to these developers. The bank has set aside $330M to deal with bad loans, tripling the $88M that was set aside in 2007.[16]

In comparison to other banks, however, BB&T has weathered the financial crisis well. Even taking into account the poor performance in the third quarter, the bank produced a return on equity of 11%, compared to 14% in FY07.[3]

Difficulty in Raising Capital

Regional banks generally have high exposure to regional housing markets, creating the belief among large investors that the risk in regional bank investment is unacceptably high.[17] BB&T is heavily exposed to the housing markets of the Southern states, which have suffered immensely from the downturn. For example, housing prices in Washington, DC have declined by 24%, and prices in Florida have declined by as much as 34%.[18]

In order to raise adequate capital, regional banks must sell more and more stocks at diluted prices. This in turn drives down prices even further, and make major investors even more hesitant about placing money into the banks. This is reflected in BB&T's historically low price/earnings ratio, suggesting that the stock is undervalued by investors. While BB&T has received approval to participate in the US Treasury's capital purchase program, the program enables the federal government to take a substantial stock stake in the company, and requires the bank to pay the government a hefty dividend.[19] Despite these difficulties, however, BB&T has fared better than other banks in capital raising, mainly because it is less exposed to subprime loans (see above).

Deteriorating Economic Conditions

While the downturn in the financial markets has decreased the supply of credit, the downturn in the U.S. economy causes a decrease in the demand for credit. A key driver of BB&T's profits is the willingness of consumers to borrow money at a high interest rate. The company's interest rate margin was 3.66% in Q3 FY08.[20]. However, deteriorating economic conditions force consumers to curtail their spending, and therefore their willingness to borrow money. The unemployment rate has reached 6.8%, and GDP growth for Q3 FY08 shrunk to 0.8%. [21]. Consumer spending dropped by 6% in October, 2008 [22], and industrial production declined by 0.4%.[23] States in the region served by by BT&T are suffering from recession.[24]. A decrease in national consumption means a decrease in the demand for credit; though the company may try to keep its interest rates up because of the credit crunch, it's likely it will make fewer loans, and thus make less money overall.


  • Wilmington Trust - Wilmington Trust Corporation is a bank that operates mainly in Delaware but holds operations in Georgia and Florida, the same regions as BB&T. It is one of the largest trust businesses in the nation and had a revenue of $1112.90 million in 2007.[25]
  • SunTrust Banks - SunTrust Banks is a bank holding company with $171.5 billion in assets. It operates about 1,700 branches across the Southern states. It offers investment banking services and loans for construction and commercial real estate.[26]
  • First Bancorp - First Bancorp is a holding company for First Bank with operating centers in North Carolina, South Carolina, and Virginia. Three quarters of the company's lending portfolio is made up of mortgage loans and it had a revenue of $167.40 million in 2007.[27]
BB&T (BBT) Wilmington Trust Corporation (WL) SunTrust Banks (STI) First Bancorp (FNLC)
Market Cap18.07B1.81B12.29B170.66M
Qtrly Rev Growth (yoy)-2.60%-12.20%6.80%7.00%
Revenue (ttm)6.20B710.10B6.65B42.32M
Source: Yahoo Finance[28]


  1. 1.0 1.1 About BB&T
  2. 2.0 2.1 2.2 2.3 2007 BBT 10-K, pg 12
  3. 3.0 3.1 3.2 3.3 "BB&T reports net income of $358 million" 10/16/08
  4. Morningstar Stock Analyst Notes, "BB&T Reports 2Q Earnings," 7/17/08
  5. [1]
  6. [2]
  7. [3]
  8. [BBT.com]
  9. [4]
  10. http://bbt.com/bbt/customerservice/generalfaq.html#03]
  11. Yahoo Finance
  12. 12.0 12.1 12.2 12.3 12.4 12.5 BBT 10-Q Q2 FY08
  13. 13.0 13.1 13.2 BBT Annual Review, pg 15
  14. 14.0 14.1 14.2 14.3 S&P 500, "2006 Guide," 11/5/05
  15. Morningstar Stock Analyst Notes, "BB&T Reports 2Q Earnings," 7/17/08
  16. Business First, "BB&T Blames Housing Market for Lower Earnings," 7/17/08
  17. Wall Street Journal "Regional Banks Continue to Slide"
  18. "S&P/Case-Shiller Home Price Indices" September 2008
  19. "BB&T to participate in U.S. Treasury program"
  20. "BB&T reports net income of $358 million"
  21. "Output, prices and jobs"
  22. "Consumer spending, credit card offers decline in tandem"
  23. "Output, prices and jobs"
  24. "Snowbirds, meet the repo men"
  25. Yahoo Finance, "Wilmington Trust Corporation Company Profile," 10/21/08
  26. SunTrust in Brief, pg 1
  27. Yahoo Finance, "First Bancorp Company Profile," 10/21/08
  28. BBT Competitors
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