BB&T Corporation

THE SCOOP

Southern comfort
With over $163 billion in assets as of March 2010, Winston-Salem, N.C.-based BB&T is the 10th-largest financial holding company in the U.S.  Through its subsidiaries, the firm offers retail and commercial banking, brokerage, commercial finance, insurance, trust and investment services through more than 1,800 branches principally in the Southeast and Mid-Atlantic States.  BB&T ranked No. 217 on Fortune’s 2010 list of the 500 top corporations in the country, up considerably from its No. 260 spot in 2009.

Small town story
Before BB&T grew to such proportions, it was more of a small-town story.  Its history begins like a late 19th-century novel: Alpheus Branch, the son of a wealthy planter, moved to eastern North Carolina to attend military school and married into a prominent Wilson County family.  He set up a small trade business, through which he met Thomas Jefferson Hadley, who was trying to set up an educational infrastructure in Wilson.  The duo thought the county could use a reliable bankâ€"swindlers were taking citizens’ money right and leftâ€"so they set up Branch and Hadley in 1872.  The county residents slowly started leasing money from Branch and Hadley, using its loans to build up their farms and plant a new crop, tobacco.

Branch bought Hadley out in 1887.  As the years went on, the bank added savings accounts, trust departments and, come World War I, liberty bonds.  Insurance and mortgage products were offered by the early 1920s.  When the stock market crashed in 1929, dozens of North Carolina banks had to close their doors.  BB&T survived and grew, doubling the number of branches and tripling its assets between 1929 and 1933.

Size without red tape
BB&T’s main subsidiary is Branch Banking and Trust Company, but the bank owns many other businesses, including Agency Technologies, an insurance software and computer hardware provider; BB&T Insurance Services and Prime Rate Premium Finance Corporation, insurance offerings; Scott & Stringfellow, brokerage and private client services; BB&T Investment Services, a discount brokerage; BB&T Equipment Leasing; BB&T Commercial Finance, a firm that buys, manages and provides funding for accounts receivable for various clients in the furniture, textile and home-furnishing industries; FARR Associates, leadership development consulting; Grandbridge Real Estate Capital, which provides commercial real estate financing; Lendmark Financial, offering consumer finance; Liberty Mortgage, specializing in wholesale mortgage lending to brokers; Regional Acceptance, for auto financing; Sheffield Financial, for small equipment financing; and Stanley, Hunt, DuPree & Rhine, which offers employee benefits consulting.

To help such a sprawling organization run efficiently, BB&T management has streamlined the decision-making process, organizing its banking network into 33 regional groups, each run by a separate president.  Each region is able to apply strategies and policies applicable to its particular area without the red tape of securing approval from BB&T’s headquarters.

Buyback time
In June 2009, BB&T announced that it was leaving the Troubled Asset Relief Program by repurchasing the preferred stock it sold to the U.S. Treasury in November 2008.  The bank paid the Treasury $3.1 billion along with a dividend payment of approximately $13.9 million.  In total, BB&T’s dividend payments under the program came to about $92.7 million.  All in all, 10 banks have received permission from the TARP program to repay their loans.

King of BB&T
Kelly King assumed the role of chief executive officer of BB&T on January 1, 2009, after the retirement of John Allison, who had served the company for 19 years as CEO.  King took the helm after more than 35 years with the company.  The Raleigh native was one of a group of young MBAs known as the “fab five†who shook up the company in the early-1980s.  The group included outgoing CEO John Allison, and fellow executives Ken Chalk, Scott Reed and King’s good friend Henry Williamson.  King’s group was the driving force behind the series of acquisitions which began in the late-1980s that eventually catapulted the company to its spot as the 10th-largest financial holding company in the country.  Before being elected as CEO, King served as COO of the firm.

King’s era of leadership will undoubtedly be fraught with challenges.  King acknowledged the enormity of his task in a press release announcing his promotion.  “If you’re someone who relishes a challenge, then you certainly couldn’t ask for a better time to assume the role as CEO of a major financial services company than right now.† In light of the credit crisis and complications in the residential mortgage industry, the firm will focus on four main areas of improvement under King’s leadership; continuing to work through the credit crisis, revenue growth, client service quality and expense control.

Just two weeks after his appointment as CEO of BB&T, Kelly King was elected to service on the board of the directors of the Federal Reserve Bank of Richmond.  King will serve a three year term as a “Class A director.â€

On January 1, 2010, one year after King assumed CEO duties, he also took over as chairman of the firm, having been elected to the spot at the end of 2009.  As he did as CEO, King succeeded Allison as chairman.

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BB&T Corporation


200 W. Second St.
Winston-Salem, NC 27101
Phone: (336) 733-2000
Fax: (336) 733-2009
www.bbt.com

STATS


  • Employer Type: Public
  • Stock Symbol: BBT
  • Stock Exchange: NYSE
  • Chairman & CEO: Kelly S. King
  • 2010 Employees: 32,400

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