Bloomberg News

BB&T Corp. (BBT - Get Report) posted stronger-than-expected first quarter earnings Thursday following its $66 billion merger with SunTrust Banks (STI - Get Report)  earlier this year that created the country's sixth-largest lender.

BB&T said adjusted earnings for the three months ending in March came in at $1.05 per share, up 11.7% from the same period last year and 2 cents ahead of the consensus forecast. Group revenues, the bank said, rose 2.11% to $2.9 billion while group deposits hit $160 billion, up $2.2 billion from the final three months of last year.

"We are pleased to report strong earnings of $749 million, or $0.97 per diluted common share, for the first quarter," said CEO Kelly King. "Our businesses continue to perform well, with record quarterly insurance revenues, increased net interest margin, solid loan growth, strong expense control, excellent asset quality, and strong capital and liquidity."

BB&T shares were marked 2.01% lower at the start of trading following the earnings release Thursday to change hands at 48.83 each. SunTrust shares fell 1.94% to $62.58 each.

SunTrust also reported first quarter earnings Thursday, with a bottom line of $1.24 per share, a figure that missed Street estimates of $1.30, on stronger-than-expected revenues of $2.4 billion.

Loan growth remains a bright spot, with average balances up 3% sequentially and 8% year-over-year, a reflection of the ongoing investments in our business and our clients' optimistic outlook on the economy," said CEO William Rogers "More importantly, while our results this quarter highlight SunTrust's individual strength, we know that after merging with BB&T, we will be even better positioned to enhance shareholder value, improve the client experience, and invest in our teammates, associates, and communities."

SunTrust and BB&T unveiled their $66 billion all-stock merger on February 7, a deal the pair said would create the sixth-biggest commercial bank in the United States with $442 billion in assets, as well as $324 billion in deposits with a customer base of around 10 million American households.

The all-stock deal will seen SunTrust investors receiving 1.295 shares of BB&T for each stock they own, as well as a 5% increased in their dividend, with BB&T owning 57% of the combined group's $28.24 billion in equity to 43% for SunTrust.

BB&T said at the time the merger would add 13% in GAAP earnings accretion in 2021, with a 9% addition expected for SunTrust. The tie-up is also forecast to deliver $1.6 billion in annual net cost synergies by 2022, the companies said, and is expected to close in the fourth quarter of 2019.