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BB&T CEO to client-facing staff: “Don’t worry, you have a job”

No similar assurances for other roles

For the first time since the financial crisis two major banks are merging.

BB&T has purchased SunTrust Banks in a $66 billion deal announced Thursday, and the two banks will be rebranded soon. Further, the two banks have 750 branches that are within two miles of each other.

In an interview early today BB&T CEO Kelly King (pictured above, left) and SunTrust CEO Bill Rogers spoke with CNBC’s David Faber (video below).

“Can we expect and should your employees be braces for layoffs as a result of potential closure of branches and the consolidation and cost savings that you’re talking about?” Faber asked.

King answered: “We are saying to our client facing performing associates: Don’t worry, you have a job. We’ve learned in mergers in the past that it’s very important that the people dealing that are directly with clients, that they need to know right now immediately that they have a job. And I re-emphasize for those of our associates, at SunTrust and BB&T that are all watching and listening now, if you’re a client facing associate and you do a good, good job, then your job is assured.”

As for employees of the bank who don't deal with customers, there is no similar, solid assurances.

"…we will take care of our client facing associates, they are sure of a job," King added. "And we’ll work with everyone else, not just the client facing associates, but we’ll work very hard so that this is a good experience for everybody we’re very compassionate organizations. We want to help everyone be successful. More importantly we want them to be happy, and so we’ll be working very hard to make this a very good, pleasant, happy experience for everybody involved."

To which Bill Rogers added: "I don’t think you’re going to find any — any banks that care more about their teammates’ associates than the two of us, and Kelly and I are committed to making this work."

The move gives BB&T a much larger stake in the mortgage industry. In 2017, SunTrust ranked as top 25 lender with $10.6 billion in volume, according to data provided to HousingWire by iEmergent. By way of comparison, BB&T is ranked No. 34, with total mortgage lending volume of $6.7 billion.

Watch CNBC's full interview with BB&T CEO Kelly King and SunTrust CEO Bill Rogers from CNBC.

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