Tuesday, Dec. 08, 2009


After decades in the shadow of North Carolina empire builders Bank of America and Wachovia, Winston-Salem-based BB&T (the name stands for Branch Banking & Trust Co.) emerged as the state's big winner in 2009. Wachovia is now gone, sold off in a rush to Wells Fargo late last year, and Bank of America was still licking its (self-inflicted) wounds. BB&T, meanwhile, was profitable and got a lot bigger after picking up the deposits and branches of Alabama-based Colonial Bank — the biggest bank failure of 2009. BB&T became the country's eighth largest bank by assets, and while it didn't escape the collapse of the commercial real estate market unscathed, it was in a healthier state than most of its rivals.