BB&T Wants First Virginia in Swap of Stock; Deal for $3.38 Billion Requires Regulatory Approval

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Byline: Marguerite Higgins, THE WASHINGTON TIMES

Winston-Salem. N.C., banking company BB&T Corp. announced yesterday it would buy First Virginia Banks Inc. of Falls Church in a $3.38 billion stock swap.

The deal, subject to regulatory approval, is expected to close in the third quarter.

The merger will consolidate First Virginia's 364 bank branches - 298 of which are in Virginia and 55 in Maryland -under the BB&T name. First Virginia customers will not see a change in their account services or policies, said Barry Fitzpatrick, First Virginia chairman, president and chief executive officer.

"BB&T and First Virginia's customer service operations are virtually identical, so customers won't see any major changes," in the 2.5 million accounts First Virginia has with 850,000 households, Mr. Fitzpatrick said.

BB&T said it will exchange 1.26 of its shares for each First Virginia share. The companies decided on the all-stock merger for tax advantages to the shareholder, Mr. Fitzpatrick said. BB&T plans to buy back 4.2 million company shares in the next year.

First Virginia branches will begin changing their signs by mid-October, when BB&T starts its systems-operation conversion.

BB&T will add First Virginia's banks to its more than 1,100 bank branches in the District, Virginia, Maryland, the Carolinas, West Virginia, Kentucky, Tennessee, Georgia, Florida, Alabama and Indiana.

First Virginia's $11.2 billion in assets is expected to boost BB&T assets to $91 billion, making it the 11th-largest national financial institution and the second-largest in Virginia, said John Allison, BB&T chairman and CEO. …