SunTrust Banks, Inc.is an American bank holding company. The largest subsidiary is SunTrust Bank. It had $182.2 billion in assets as of December 31, 2006.
SunTrust Bank's most direct corporate parent was established in 1891 in Atlanta, Georgia, where its headquarters remain.SunTrust Bank operates approximately 1,700 bank branches across southeastern states, including Alabama, Arkansas, Florida, Georgia, Maryland, Mississippi, North Carolina, South Carolina, Tennessee, Virginia, West Virginia, and Washington, DC.
The earliest predecessor institution, Farmers Bank of Alexandria, Virginia, was founded in 1811. The most direct corporate parent, the Trust Company of Georgia, was founded in 1891 as the Commercial Travelers' Savings Bank. Two years later, it restructured as a trust company and renamed itself Trust Company of Georgia. The current SunTrust Banks, Inc. was the result of a merger between the Trust Company of Georgia and SunBanks, Inc. of Florida in 1985. Branches of the bank adopted the name of the parent entity in 1995.
In 1986, shortly after the Trust Company-SunBanks merger, SunTrust purchased Third National Corporation of Tennessee. It purchased Crestar Financial of Virginia in 1998. In 2001, SunTrust launched a hostile takeover bid for Wachovia, after Wachovia announced its intention to merge with First Union. This attempt was unsuccessful. (See the Wachovia article for more information.)
The company bought Memphis based National Commerce Financial Corporation (NCF) for $7 billion in 2004. This acquisition gave SunTrust branches and assets in North Carolina, South Carolina, Tennessee, Mississippi, Arkansas, Georgia, Virginia and West Virginia.
SunTrust is frequently the target of rumors that it will be acquired by a larger bank.
Relationship with Coca-Cola
SunTrust has a long-standing relationship with the Coca-Cola Company. The Trust Company of Georgia helped underwrite the initial public offering of The Coca-Cola Company in 1919. As a result, the bank received some of Coke's publicly traded stock, and SunTrust retains 48.3 million shares (3.58%) of Coke as of 2006. This stake, which has a GAAP cost of $110,000, is today worth approximately $2 billion and pays $59 million a year in dividends. In addition, the original copy of the formula for Coca-Cola is stored in a safe deposit box of a SunTrust location in Atlanta.Ernest Woodruff, president of the Trust Company from 1904 to 1922, was the father of Robert W. Woodruff, Coca-Cola's president from 1923 to 1954 and board member until 1984. As of 2007, two Coca-Cola executives sit on SunTrust's board of directors and a former SunTrust CEO sits on Coca-Cola's board.
On May 15, 2007 SunTrust announced that it had sold 4.5 million shares, or 9%, of its 48.2 million shares of Coca-Cola. The company plans by year end to decide what to do with the remaining shares it owns.