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BB&T is buying BankAtlantic, extending its Florida network

BB&T is buying the choice assets of Fort Lauderdale-based BankAtlantic, further extending its Florida footprint as the state's fifth-largest bank.

The deal announced early Tuesday gives BB&T another $3.3 billion in deposits, $2.1 billion in loans, and 78 branches. All told, BB&T, which is based in Winston-Salem, N.C., will end up with more 1,800 branches in 12 states, including 269 branches in Florida.

All of its new Florida branches will be in Miami and Port St. Lucie. BB&T spokeswoman Merrie Tolbert said there will be some branch closings as a result of overlap but did not specify locations.

BB&T selectively picked only the best assets from BankAtlantic, paying a $301 million premium plus the net asset value of the thrift. In a statement, the bank said it declined to absorb "non-performing and other criticized assets."

That leaves BankAtlantic's parent company, BankAtlantic Bancorp, holding $623.6 million in assets, more than half of which are reportedly troubled loans.

BankAtlantic Bancorp CEO Alan Levan indicated that his company would adopt a new name after the sale because it would no longer be a savings and loan holding company. BankAtlantic will then focus its operations on the assets it retained, along with specialty finance and commercial lending, Levan said.

Several years ago, BankAtlantic was among Florida's biggest and most aggressive banks. But its branch growth, which included a large expansion throughout the Tampa Bay area, abruptly halted in 2009 as it was forced to recover from heavy real estate losses. A year ago, it announced it was retrenching to focus solely on its south Florida base and sold its 19 Tampa Bay branches to PNC.

BB&T is buying BankAtlantic, extending its Florida network 11/01/11 [Last modified: Tuesday, November 1, 2011 4:48pm]

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