There’s a new bank in town: BB&T, a North Carolina-based consumer bank, has purchased National Penn Bank, the owner of Third Federal Bank branches, giving it a foothold in Mercer County. BB&T now has branches on Pennington Road, Route 33, and Franklin Corner Road.

“BB&T has identified Pennsylvania and New Jersey as markets that are strategically a great fit for our company,” said Christopher Warren, who has the title of market president for BB&T in New Jersey. The company has had branches in New Jersey since November, 2015, when it bought Susquehanna Bank and set up a headquarters in Camden. Warren said BB&T also purchased the Bank of Kentucky within the last three years, but that there were no plans to continue its rapid expansion in the near future.

“We are going to take a pause. We feel that we need to digest the acquisitions we have made,” he said.

Warren has a long career in banking in New Jersey, and previously worked at Core States Bank on Scotch Road for five years.

BB&T, a 144-year-old bank, is now the ninth largest bank in the country, with 37,000 employees working in 2,220 branches in 15 states and Washington. Warren said there were no staff reductions during the takeover, and that bank policy was that all client-facing workers were offered positions after the merger. “We didn’t want to disrupt the customer relationship,” he said.

Warren said his bank’s main appeal to consumers is its technology, especially its anti-fraud measures. “BB&T has invested in and developed fraud prevention products that give our customers the ability to identify but more importantly protect against fraud,” he said.

For example, the bank’s “payee positive pay” system allows the bank to examine checks to make sure the payee is the party to which the check was intended to be given. “A criminal cannot change the payee from your name to his name,” Warren says.

According to Warren, the bank differentiates itself from other big banks with its corporate culture. Regional market presidents such as himself have more independent decision making power than in other mega-banks, he said. “With me as market president, the community feels they have access with authority and autonomy, which goes a long way towards addressing the concerns that people have with a large bank. They know they can call me, the market president, and get the kind of service they deserve.”

BB&T, 2075 Pennington Road, Ewing 08618. 609-883-7033, www.bbt.com.

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