BB&T Capital Markets

BB&T Capital Markets is the investment banking division of Branch Banking and Trust, more commonly known as BB&T. BB&T is one of the largest regional banks in America and is the largest bank in North Carolina. It is based in Salem, North Carolina, although a large part of its early history was in Wilson, North Carolina. It is the eighth largest retail bank in the United States. Although it has grown recently through a program of acquisitions it is still focused on the south eastern United States.

BB&T Capital Markets reflects its roots in the retail bank. As it is not a standalone investment bank it tends to focus on middle market clients rather than the largest headline grabbing deals. Although it is an outgrowth of a large regional banking network it offers a comprehensive range of services. It claims that the difference between its services and those of its competitors is that it offers a more holistic approach to capital raising, incorporating all areas of its offerings rather than being the best of breed and concentrating on one transaction.

BB&T Capital Markets has a number of operational areas. The investment banking includes mergers & acquisitions and originations of both debt and equity. Corporate banking includes interest rate derivatives and loan syndications, meaning that borrowing for middle sized clients can be done more safely and in a more customized form. The research arm has research desks for both debt and equity. There are also separate trading desks for both debt and equity. The areas of expertise that BB&T Capital Markets claim are defense & government services, commercial and industrial, consumer markets, healthcare and transport. They also claim to specialize in financial services and financial sponsors.

BB&T started in 1872 when a partnership of Alpheus Branch and Thomas Hadley founded a merchant bank “Branch and Hadley”. In 1887 Alpheus Branch took over the company, renaming it “Branch and Company, Bankers”. In the early twentieth century Branch & Company became more active in the retail market, offering savings accounts in 1902 and in 1907 became the first bank to conduct trust business in North Carolina. To reflect its changed activity it renamed itself to “Branch Banking and Trust” which could be shortened to BB&T. Insurance followed in 1922 and in 1923 BB&T was offering mortgages as well.

After the 1929 stock market crash BB&T was the only bank to survive in Winston. It grew through a series of acquisitions so that in 1994 it was the largest bank in North Carolina. It merged with the Southern National Bank in 1995, which although it was seen as a “merger of equals” meant that BB&T was used on all bank branches. After that BB&T acquired a number of banks in neighboring states including Maryland, Virginia, Washington DC, West Virginia, Georgia, Tennessee, Kentucky and Florida. By the end of this expansion it had 1,500 banking offices and more than 28,000 employees. In 2009 the deposit and loan accounts of the failed Colonial Bank were moved to BB&T, which consolidated its position as the eighth largest bank in the country.

BB&T is also known for its political involvement in an industry which is usually apolitical. It has helped fund a number of university programs to study capitalism and it blamed federal regulations for the banking sector crash.

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