BB&T Corp. Makes Foray into Florida

Article excerpt

Byline: Gregory Richards, Times-Union business writer

BB&T Corp. is moving full steam ahead on its acquisition of the parent company of First South Bank, which has operations in Jacksonville. The purchase is expected to be completed in September.

The Winston-Salem, N.C.-based financial institution announced in late May that it would acquire First South's parent company, Regional Financial Corp. of Tallahassee, for $275 million. First South operates six branches in Northeast Florida, spanning from Fernandina Beach to St. Augustine.

BB&T spokeswoman A.-C. McGraw said that First South, with its sound financials and a "very similar culture" made it ripe for acquisition. First South has assets of nearly $1.5 billion.

Although this is BB&T's first foray into the Sunshine State, the bank is no stranger to acquisition. Since 1989, BB&T has folded 54 bank and thrifts, 64 insurance companies and 21 financial service companies into its organization. Still, the First South brings much added value to BB&T, which has $74.9 billion and is the 13th largest financial holding company in the country with 1,100 branches. …