This one really hurts.
Losing the corporate headquarters of SunTrust hit Atlanta below the belt – just as the city was basking in the light of hosting a successful Super Bowl LIII.
After all, one goal in hosting the Super Bowl was to promote the Atlanta’s brand as a great place for business.
But just five days after the Super Bowl, Atlanta-based SunTrust and Winston Salem-based BB&T announced they were merging and that the new corporate entity would be based in Charlotte, N.C.
That means Atlanta will lose one of its oldest Fortune 500 companies. It also bursts another bubble in the claim that the Atlanta region is a top center for Fortune 500 headquarters.
Some local boosters continue to inaccurately state that Atlanta has the third largest concentration of Fortune 500 companies in the country. That simply is not true.
Including SunTrust, the Atlanta region had 15 Fortune 500 companies in 2018. According to City Data, Atlanta is tied with Washington, D.C. – ranking eighth among cities with Fortune 500 companies – hardly giving Atlanta bragging rights of being a leading corporate headquarters region.
SunTrust’s roots in Atlanta date back to 1891 when the Georgia General Assembly granted a charter for the Commercial Travelers’ Savings Bank in Atlanta. Two years later, it changed its name to Trust Company of Georgia – a name it kept until 1985 when the bank merged with Florida-based SunBank – and became SunTrust Banks, headquartered in Atlanta.
SunTrust has been the largest independent financial institution still based in Atlanta – a mainstay that survived after many of its historic competitors in Georgia – First National Bank of Atlanta and Citizens & Southern – were gobbled up by North Carolina banks among others.
And it has been Georgia’s only bank on the prestigious Fortune 500 list.
In Atlanta, we’ve gotten used to seeing corporate headquarters come and go.
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