- The Washington Times - Thursday, January 25, 2001

BB&T; Corp. announced yesterday it was buying F&M; National Corp. of Winchester and Virginia Capital Bancshares Inc. of Fredericksburg, positioning it as the fourth-largest bank in Virginia.

The Winston Salem, N.C.-based BB&T; has been on an aggressive acquisition track for the past few years, gaining the fifth-highest market share in the Washington metropolitan area.

The purchase of F&M; adds $4 billion in assets to BB&T;'s $60.9 billion, as well as one branch in Maryland and 163 throughout Virginia, including 31 in Northern Virginia. It also makes the bank the largest in the Tidewater area.

The Virginia Capital acquisition is less significant in size, adding $532.7 million in assets and four banking offices, but plugging a hole between the western part of the state, Richmond and Tidewater.

"One of our primary goals is to be within the top five in market share in states where we operate," said Burney Warren, BB&T;'s executive vice president of mergers and acquisitions.

BB&T; has succeeded in that goal in West Virginia, where it has purchased One Valley Bancorp, the state's largest bank. It is in the top five in North Carolina and South Carolina, and will work in the next two years to achieve top spots in Maryland and Georgia, Mr. Warren said.

The bank completed its acquisition of FCNB Corp. of Frederick, Md., on Jan. 9, giving it 34 banking offices in Frederick, Howard and Montgomery counties.

BB&T; is now tied for the fourth-highest market share in Virginia with Wachovia Corp., behind Bank of America, First Union and SunTrust.

Analysts say the bank's success is based in part on its structure. It is made up of 23 community banks that manage operations regionally.

"They're a little bit unique in how they've structured their community banking network with autonomous regions," said Erick Reim, a senior research analyst with U.S. Bancorp Piper Jaffray in Minneapolis.

Credit and loan decisions are made at the local level, he said.

"They're very customer-service oriented, that's one of their strengths," said Gary Townsend, a community banking analyst with Friedman Billings Ramsey in Arlington.

He said the bank also cross-sells its different products well, from insurance to investment vehicles.

Mr. Townsend added that the bank has concentrated on non-urban areas, with only six branches in the District proper.

But he said that could change as the bank evolves.

Copyright © 2019 The Washington Times, LLC. Click here for reprint permission.

The Washington Times Comment Policy

The Washington Times welcomes your comments on Spot.im, our third-party provider. Please read our Comment Policy before commenting.


Click to Read More and View Comments

Click to Hide