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“But the stuff that they were associating with banking,” he added, “we don’t do half the stuff that we were being villainized for.”

It was great campaign material, he said.

“Some of that was driven by political agendas,” Mr. Wilfong said. “We were easy to pick on. … It became this mantra, ‘We’re going to protect you from the bankers.’ “

But SunTrust’s reputation took another hit this week when the bank agreed to pay $21 million to settle a Justice Department lawsuit that accused the company of discriminating against black and Hispanic borrowers by increasing loan prices.

Mr. Wilfong responded to the complaints by pointing out that 70 percent of the loans that drew the criticism were written by independent brokers. That means 30 percent of the loans were done by the bank.

“You’re never pleased when you’re accused of unfair lending,” he said. “We spend all our time building our integrity, and that’s really what you have as a bank.”