5 important questions about BB&T's purchase of Susquehanna Bancshares

Shown is the Susquehanna Bank branch at 1676 Oregon Pike in Lancaster. BB&T, a North Carolina banking company, has agreed to buy Susquehanna Bancshares for $2.5 billion in cash and stock, it was announced Wednesday.

As LancasterOnline reported Wednesday, Lititz-based Susquehanna Bancshares is being bought by North Carolina banking company BB&T.

So what does that mean if you're a Susquehanna customer?

Here are five important questions and answers about the $2.5 billion deal.

Q: What happens to Susquehanna's 245 banking offices in Pennsylvania, Maryland, New Jersey and West Virginia, including the 30 offices in Lancaster County?

A: All Susquehanna branches will be retained, although they will be renamed BB&T. No branches are being closed because the Susquehanna and BB&T branch networks do not overlap.

Here's a look at Susquehanna's locations. Here's a look at BB&T's locations.

Q: What will happen to the 900 Susquehanna employees in Lancaster County?

A: It is unclear. But company executives told LancasterOnline that all of the “customer-facing” staff will be retained. BB&T executives acknowledged layoffs will occur in the company’s “back-office” operations, but declined to estimate how many. (BB&T is expected to eliminate $160 million worth of Susquehanna expenses annually; how those savings will be achieved was not immediately specified.)

Q: What about my account with Susquehanna?

A: When the deal is finalized in 2015, customers of Susquehanna will receive new credit cards, debit cards and account numbers from BB&T.

Q: Will it cost more to do banking with BB&T?

A: BB&T will be reviewing the fees charged by Susquehanna, but promised no “significant” increase.

Q: I'm a shareholder. What does the deal mean for me?

A: Susquehanna shareholders will receive 0.253 shares of BB&T common stock and $4.05 cash for each Susquehanna common share. The consideration is valued at $13.50 per share, based on the average closing price of BB&T over the 45 trading days ending Monday.

What others are reporting:

- Bloomberg notes in its coverage that "bank deals, which dropped off amid stricter regulations brought on by the financial crisis, are picking up again in the U.S. In July, commercial lender CIT Group Inc. agreed to buy OneWest Bank from parent IMB Holdco LLC for $3.4 billion. Regional lenders including U.S. Bancorp and Huntington Bancshares Inc. are shopping for pieces of bigger rivals as companies such as Citigroup Inc. and Bank of America Corp. seek to exit regions and businesses."

- Forbes notes that BB&T Corporation "is continuing its expansion push: just two months after reaching deals to acquire bank branches in Kentucky and Texas, the 142-year-old financial services company will gain ground in Pennsylvania, Maryland, New Jersey and West Virginia."

- The Wall Street Journal notes that the BB&T/Susquehanna deal "would be one of the biggest in the banking sector since the financial crisis, as many banks have sought to avoid the potential regulatory headaches of larger deal making."

MarketWatch pointed out that "since the financial crisis, regulators, including the Federal Reserve have scrutinized bank mergers much more closely." It added that The Fed had no comment on the proposed merger. 

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