BB&T (BBT) has created a new south Texas region and named a longtime employee as its president.

Previously the $179.1 billion-asset company considered the entire state of Texas a single region. The new south Texas area will include Houston, Austin and San Antonio and will be headed by Bill Toomey, BB&T said Wednesday.

Toomey joined the Winston-Salem, N.C., company in 1999 and has worked in commercial lending roles in Myrtle Beach, S.C., and Richmond, Va., as well as on its capital markets team. He became the Baltimore city executive in 2008 and rose to Baltimore metro regional president in 2011.

Kay St. John will remain as regional president of north Texas based in Dallas.

"By dividing Texas into two regions we will be better positioned to strategically focus on maximizing opportunities and maintaining our high service standards to existing clients," Louis Moore, community banking executive vice president, said in a news release.

BB&T announced last month that it would more than double its branch network in Texas by adding 30 new offices in the state's four largest metro areas. Most of the branches should open in 2013 and will focus primarily on commercial and small-business lending.

BB&T is now divided into 37 regions. Toomey's appointment will take effect Jan. 1.

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