“The regulatory environment is much easier for something of this size to happen,” Brian Klock, an analyst with KBW, told the Associated Press, adding that the easier regulatory environment could trigger more large bank mergers ahead.

The merger is also seen as a way for smaller regional lenders to compete with big national banks like JPMorgan Chase & Co and Bank of America Corp. The larger national U.S. banks are drawing a larger crowd, notably a greater share of younger consumer accounts, due to their digital offerings.

To better keep up with their larger competitors, regional banks have been investing heavily in technology, and BB&T and SunTrust said the merged bank will also put more into digital accounting.

“It’s an extraordinarily attractive financial proposition that provides the scale needed to compete and win in the rapidly evolving world of financial services,” CEO Kelly King said said in a prepared statement.

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