BB&T Corp.'s appetite for acquisitions has not been limited to banks. The Winston-Salem, N.C., company has been building its insurance sales force by gobbling up independent insurance agencies.
In the last five months alone BB&T Insurance Services in Raleigh, N.C., has announced five agency acquisitions.
"They are clearly more aggressive in closing acquisitions this year than any other bank we know of," said John M. Wepler, principal and vice president of merger and acquisition services at Marsh, Berry & Co., a Concord, Ohio, firm that represents both banks and agencies.
Two New Jersey banking companies, Summit Bancorp of Princeton, and Commerce Bancorp of Cherry Hill, have also been busy acquirers of late. But few banks can rival BB&T's ability to close deals fast, Mr. Wepler said.
The company has completed 40 agency acquisitions and has no plans to stop, said spokesman Robert Denham. BB&T is particularly interested in North Carolina, Virginia, Maryland, Georgia, Washington, and Tennessee, he added.
"Our insurance strategy is to pursue high-quality agencies that are primarily in the markets where we have a banking presence," Mr. Denham said.