After sitting on the sidelines for years, SunTrust Banks Inc. jumped into the merger fray Monday with an announcement it plans to buy Crestar Financial Corp. of Richmond, Va., for $9.5 billion.

The deal would bring together two stalwarts of southeastern banking that have been the subject of much merger speculation. Crestar has watched its Virginia rivals sell to larger competitors, while Atlanta-based SunTrust has not done a major bank acquisition since 1986.

Subscribe Now

Access to authoritative analysis and perspective and our data-driven report series.

14-Day Free Trial

No credit card required. Complete access to articles, breaking news and industry data.