BB&T's (BBT) tar heels are ready to work in the city of big shoulders.

BB&T Capital Markets, a unit of the Winston-Salem, N.C., company, announced Tuesday that it had formed a corporate banking team in Chicago.

The team is made up of bankers with varied backgrounds; the members have been recruited throughout the last year.

"The hiring of these seasoned corporate bankers continues the acceleration of our national growth strategy," Kelly King, BB&T's chairman and chief executive, said in a press release. "We believe that BB&T's relationship-based, values-driven approach along with a strong balance sheet will resonate solidly with clients in the Midwest."

Kurt Anstaett, a former managing director at Deutsche Bank, has 30 years of experience in industrial, consumer products and business services sectors. Shane Koonce, formerly with Bank of Montreal's BMO Harris Bank, was named senior portfolio manager in the food, agribusiness and beverage team.

Michael Laurie, a former managing director of Rabobank, was named head of BB&T's food, agribusiness and beverage division. The Chicago office will serve as the beachhead in an effort to target those industries.

John Malloy, a former managing director at BMO, has more than 20 years of experience in the manufacturing, business services, consumer products and retail sectors. Lastly, Andrey Rudnitsky joins the Chicago team after spending five years as a corporate banker at BB&T's corporate headquarters.

King mentioned the formation of the Chicago team during the $177 billion-asset company's second quarter conference call in July. "We did add corporate banking teams in some of the larger markets in the country including Dallas, Chicago, Cincinnati, San Francisco," King said during the call. "To give you a perspective, common quarter loan growth in the corporate banking area is up [31 cents], so it's working."

As it expands its corporate banking business, BB&T has also been tinkering with its retail branch network. Last week at the Barclays Global Financial Services conference, King detailed the closing of 43 branches throughout its 12-state territory and the opening of 30 branches in Texas.

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