SunTrust Announces Major Corporate Banking Expansion

NEW YORK ( TheStreet) - SunTrust Banks ( STI) of Atlanta on Monday announced a major expansion of its corporate banking business through the opening of SunTrust Robinson Humphrey offices in Dallas, San Francisco following the recent opening of an office in Chicago.

SunTrust Robinson Humphrey (STRH) is the trade name under which SunTrust operates its corporate banking and brokerage business. SunTrust's investment banking and brokerage subsidiary is SunTrust Robinson Humphrey, Inc.

SunTrust is the 11th largest U.S. bank by total assets, and has traditionally focused on banking and brokerage operations in the Southeast, but STRH already has asset-based lending and equipment leasing teams based in Texas and Chicago, with "a wealth management presence," in California.

The company said the STRH team in Dallas will be headed by Clint Bryant, formerly of Fifth Third Bank, the main subsidiary of Fifth Third Bancorp ( FITB) of Cincinnati.

The San Francisco office will be headed by Jim Deichen, a 34-year veteran of Bank of America ( BAC), for which he most recently served as head of corporate banking for the technology industry.

The Chicago office is headed by Ted Heldring, who came to STRH after heading JPMorgan Chase's debt capital markets business in Chicago.

SunTrust said "All three offices will add bankers to their teams in the near future."

SunTrust's wholesale banking segment provides roughly 40% of the company's revenue. STRH provides about half the wholesale banking segment's revenue.

"In the past, we had a corporate banking relationship model based in the Southeast, now we will expand that presence to provide complete corporate and core banking solutions as well as investment banking products and services, depending on the needs of the client," says Mark Chancy, SunTrust's head of wholesale banking.

SunTrust already has lending teams with expertise in applicable industries, including energy, for the Southwest, technology for the San Francisco office, and industrial manufacturing in the Midwest. "We are trying to leverage the practice groups we already have," Chancy says.

"When we establish the corporate banking offices in each of the markets, we'll be able to actively serve them on a local relationship model as well as their corporate banking needs," he says.

SunTrust's shares closed at $33.75 Friday, returning 20% this year. The shares trade for 11.4 times the consensus 2014 earnings estimate of $2.95 a share, among analysts polled by Thomson Reuters.

The shares were down a penny in afternoon trading, to $33.74.

Please see TheStreet's earnings coverage for a discussion of SunTrust's third-quarter results, which were lowered by a number of one-time mortgage related items.

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Interested in more on SunTrust? See TheStreet Ratings' report card for this stock.

-- Written by Philip van Doorn in Jupiter, Fla.

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Philip W. van Doorn is a member of TheStreet's banking and finance team, commenting on industry and regulatory trends. He previously served as the senior analyst for TheStreet.com Ratings, responsible for assigning financial strength ratings to banks and savings and loan institutions. Mr. van Doorn previously served as a loan operations officer at Riverside National Bank in Fort Pierce, Fla., and as a credit analyst at the Federal Home Loan Bank of New York, where he monitored banks in New York, New Jersey and Puerto Rico. Mr. van Doorn has additional experience in the mutual fund and computer software industries. He holds a bachelor of science in business administration from Long Island University.

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