Congress should review BB&T-SunTrust deal before agencies rule: Waters

Register now

WASHINGTON — House Financial Services Committee Chairwoman Maxine Waters, D-Calif., is calling on regulators to defer approval of the proposed merger between BB&T and SunTrust until the committee conducts a thorough review.

In a letter to Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome Powell and Federal Deposit Insurance Corp. Chairman Jelena McWilliams, Waters said the public hearings on the deal held in Charlotte, N.C., and Atlanta are not enough to determine the proposed merger’s impact on employees, branches and consumers.

“Your agencies should hold additional public hearings in other states that would be affected by the proposed merger to ensure the agencies have a wide range of perspectives before making a decision on the merger application,” Waters said in the May 8 letter.

“As the Committee intends to conduct thorough oversight of this merger, including holding our own public hearings on the matter, I respectfully ask that your agencies defer any final decisions on the merger application after the Committee completes a full and thorough review of the proposed merger,” she said.

Waters said that the merger would create the “largest bank the FDIC has ever supervised as the primary Federal regulator.”

“Certainly, two public hearings are insufficient for the agencies to fully understand what the ramifications will be for millions of Americans,” Waters said.

Waters added that she is concerned that if the merger is approved, the combined bank could close branches in order to cut costs. She cited comments at a hearing in Charlotte by Lesley Weaver, attorney for the National Black Farmers Association, that branch closings could hurt black farmers.

Waters is asking for Powell and McWilliams to detail their reactions to Weaver’s comments on how the proposed merger could harm consumers’ access to affordable financial services, the potential Community Reinvestment Act implications of the deal and how both agencies are evaluating remedies for employees affected by layoffs.

For reprint and licensing requests for this article, click here.