Should the assimilation of BB&T and SunTrust processes go swiftly and effectively, the soon-to-be megabank could become a force to be reckoned with. But that's only if it's able to capitalize and not get swallowed by efforts to integrate.
In terms of digital strategy, SunTrust is bounds ahead of BB&T, which likely considered this move as a way to acquire new technology, in addition to other factors. For comparison, BB&T has no digital mortgage application and is the last bank on Fiserv platform Unify (which is no longer being supported), whereas SunTrust already launched an artificial intelligence pilot in the past year, for which it has upwards of 20 use cases.
The move for BB&T should cut around three-to-five years of exploring and investing in new tech.
Once the merger is complete, the single bank will settle in tech-forward Charlotte, N.C., which should strengthen digital mortgage aspirations for the banks operating as one, as well as for the rest of the industry seeing the megabank as competition.
While the merger has the potential to pave the way for a market shift and potentially knock some players off the top of the list, it also puts the banks at risk for complications, pushing others ahead.
Bank of America's acquisition of Merrill Lynch 10 years ago was largely successful in helping strengthen tech efforts for the bank, but the opposite was true for its purchase of Countrywide Financial Corp., where technology was seen as
one of the deal’s best attributes, but was ultimately a dud.
The banks' choice of a Charlotte headquarters situates BB&T and SunTrust in a tech hub, but also puts them at risk. Charlotte is a saturated, competitive digital market where companies are forced to pay considerable premiums for good resources. This also makes talent acquisition and retention a challenge.
The pace in which this merger comes together further dictates how well the megabank achieves its potential. It is likely to take at least a year until BB&T and SunTrust are operating on the same platform