First Citizens BancShares Inc. said Friday it plans to buy CIT Group Inc. in an all-stock deal valued at roughly $2.2 billion.
The combination of First Citizens, based in Raleigh, N.C., and CIT, based in New York City, would create one of the larger regional banks in the U.S. with more than $100 billion in assets. The company will keep the First Citizens name and ticker symbol after the merger and will continue to be run by the First Citizens CEO.
The combination would be one of the bigger bank tie-ups in recent years. Two larger regional banks, BB&T and SunTrust, merged last year to become Truist Financial Corp., the largest bank deal since the financial crisis ushered in stricter regulations.
Regional lenders are struggling to compete with big national banks such as JPMorgan Chase & Co. and Bank of America Corp., which have raked in deposits by attracting customers with flashy apps and ubiquitous branches. Low interest rates have weighed on bank profits, especially those of regional banks that rely more on traditional lending than their larger competitors.
At first blush, the pairing seems odd. CIT operates a national commercial lending and equipment leasing business. First Citizens, run by the same North Carolina family for three generations, operates more than 500 branches in 19 states.