As BB&T-SunTrust shows, banks must grow, change or die
By Karen Petrou
The BB&T-SunTrust merger is drawing strong opposition on grounds that so large a merger means still more banking sector concentration. It’s true that big banks have gotten bigger since 2008 even as the community bank landscape is increasingly decimated. It’s time, though, to shift the debate from whether big banks should be allowed to merge to even more urgent questions. If banks don’t merge, then what? Does the U.S. want a banking system made up largely of a few giant banks and a few even larger monolithic big tech companies? If not, then banks must grow in size and/or change their offerings if Congress does not apply like-kind regulation to increasingly powerful competitors operating often within the ambit of taxpayer backstops while enjoying immunity from costly regulation.