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Truist plans 104 branch closures for December, January

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Truist plans 104 branch closures for December, January

Truist Financial Corp. said it plans to shutter 104 branches in December and January 2021 and could accelerate additional closures in 2021 as it continues to target $1.6 billion in cost savings after the merger between BB&T Corp. and SunTrust Banks Inc. that created the company.

The bank has said it plans 800 branch closures overall, noting that many offices at its predecessor companies share the same parking lot.

In a conference call on third-quarter results, Chairman and CEO Kelly King said the bank has been cautious about closing branches during the pandemic to ensure that customers have access to services. The vast majority of Truist's branches have drive-throughs that have remained open throughout the pandemic, King said.

"For the last several months, we've had in-branch activity based on appointments only," he said. "We just opened up this week like 1,500 branches to full-service in the lobby."

"Once we get the branches back to kind of normal and our client service capability is back to normal, then we will be more aggressive in terms of the closings," he added.

CFO Daryl Bible said Truist had achieved about 35% of its targeted cost savings in the third quarter. But the bank is still recognizing elevated expenses related to the merger. The bank reported that merger-related and restructuring charges reduced diluted EPS by about 13 cents in the third quarter, and "incremental operating expenses related to the merger" reduced diluted EPS by another 8 cents. Bible said he expects such expenses to "stay elevated for the next several quarters."

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