BankAtlantic, founded in 1952, has a storied history, and experienced rough times during the recession, including mounting financial losses, cease-and-desist orders from federal banking regulators, a still-pending SEC lawsuit and other suits.
The Federal Reserve Board approved BB&T’s purchase, after taking into consideration various comments from the public, including those related to the Community Reinvestment Act. BankAtlantic had received a “Needs to Improve,” rating on its latest report in 2010, and BB&T’s ratings have been “satisfactory.”
Miami economist and independent banking consultant Ken Thomas had submitted a comment, asking that regulators grant “conditional” approval, due to his concerns over both banks’ “less than outstanding community reinvestment and fair lending performance.”
“We need banks that are going to help us in our recovery,” Thomas said Tuesday.
In its approval, the Federal Reserve Board said BB&T “has committed to correct BankAtlantic’s deficiencies,” and “to improve BankAtlantic’s processes, procedures and practices for compliance with CRA.”
Founded in North Carolina in 1872 by Alpheus Branch — its name stands for Branch Banking & Trust — BB&T operates 1,800 branches in 12 states and Washington, D.C., and has more than 33,000 employees. The bank entered the South Florida marked in 2009 when it bought Colonial Bank.
The Fed concluded in its report that BB&T’s purchase of BankAtlantic, “will result in additional benefits to consumers currently served by BankAtlantic,” citing, among other factors, a broader range of financial products and services, a higher lending limit, and an expanded range of commercial and consumer loan products.
“We can cover the waterfront in terms of the breadth of products, and it doesn’t matter how big or small you are, we can provide a lot of financial solutions,” Oster said. “We just think this is going to be a perfect fit.”