North Florida regional president on what's ahead for Truist

Scott Keith says merger of SunTrust and BB&T into the nation's sixth-largest bank should be seamless for most customers.


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  • | 2:10 p.m. December 20, 2019
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In the middle of the busy holiday season, you may not have noticed that SunTrust Banks Inc. and BB&T Corp. completed their merger into Truist Financial Corp., becoming the sixth-largest U.S. bank.

Even if you’re a customer of Truist, you may not notice any changes at all at the 33 SunTrust and BB&T offices in Northeast Florida in 2020.

“We’re probably about 18 months away” from fully merging the operations of the banks, Scott Keith, North Florida regional president for Truist, said Dec. 18 in an interview.

The merger announced in February was completed Dec. 6, and the banks are beginning to work on integration details, Keith said.

“Prior to that, we’ve still been working as competing organizations,” he said.

The companies announced in June that the merged bank, which is headquartered in Charlotte, North Carolina, would be called Truist. However, the company hasn’t made a marketing push to promote the new brand. 

“As we’re speaking to clients now, we’re trying to tell them we’re Truist,” Keith said.

Beyond that, the Truist name likely will be promoted in about a month.

“I think what we’re going to do is have a big splash around the Super Bowl,” he said.

The merging of bank operations should be seamless for most customers.

“The majority of our account holders will not have to have to change account numbers,” Keith said.

He also said account holders already can use their debit cards at ATMs for either bank.

Clients also will be able to take advantage of services from both banks that might not have been available before, he said. 

For example, BB&T offered insurance brokerage and SunTrust had strategic advisory services that now are available for all Truist customers.

“Our clients are starting to see the value of the combined organization,” Keith said.

Keith said the banks did not have any discussions about office space in the Jacksonville market before the merger closed, since the two banks were still competitors. 

So, it’s too early to say if any of the 33 branches in the Jacksonville metropolitan area will close, but Keith doesn’t see a big overlap.

“We do have a fairly good distribution of the branch network,” he said.

The two banks had offices in Downtown Jacksonville, and Keith said no decisions have been made about those spaces.

Keith works at the BB&T Tower at 200 W. Forsyth St. 

SunTrust this year moved out of an eponymous tower at 76 S. Laura St. to the nearby Bank of America Tower at 50 N. Laura St.

VyStar Credit Union bought and moved into the former SunTrust Tower and the VyStar name was put on top of the 23-story building.

Keith last week was named president for a region that stretches beyond Jacksonville, covering all of North Florida from Ocala and west to Tallahassee.

Keith had been with BB&T since 2005, originally joining the bank as Jacksonville market president.

He was promoted to president of the North Florida region in 2010 and to president of the North & Central Florida region in 2016.

He worked for SunTrust from 1995 to 2003, so he has ties to both banks.

Keith expects his office to remain in Downtown Jacksonville as regional president.

“It’s really important that we’re supportive of a growing and vibrant Downtown environment,” he said.

“I’m confident we’ll be Downtown.”