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By Reuters

BB&T will buy SunTrust Banks for about $28 billion in an all-stock deal, the companies said on Thursday, creating the sixth largest U.S. lender, in the biggest bank deal since the 2007-2009 financial crisis.

The two companies called it a merger of equals, valued at $66 billion.

The combined company will operate under a new name and have around $442 billion in assets, $301 billion in loans and $324 billion in deposits, and will rival Citigroup and Bank of America.

The deal comes at a time when President Donald Trump is pushing for easing crisis-era regulations that restricted expansion and added increased regulatory scrutiny on big banks.

Added to that, changes in the tax laws that lowered corporate tax also freed up capital — and Wall Street has long been expecting a wave of dealmaking in the banking sector.

BB&T shareholders will own 57 percent of the combined company and SunTrust will own the rest.

The deal, expected to close in the fourth quarter, will likely result in annual cost savings of around $1.6 billion by 2022, the companies said.