U.S. regional lender BB&T Corp. will buy rival SunTrust Bank Inc. for approximately $28 billion in stock, unveiling the largest bank deal since the 2007-2009 financial crisis and a potential first step in a long-awaited wave of consolidation in the sector, according to a Reuters report.

The combined company will operate under a new name and have approximately $442 billion in assets, $301 billion in loans and $324 billion in deposits and will rival U.S. Bancorp that has about $467 billion in assets.

The combined company will cover the East Coast, with new corporate headquarters in Charlotte, North Carolina.  The combined company will retain operations in Winston-Salem and Atlanta, which are the home markets for both companies.

This new deal comes at the Trump Administration is easing crisis-era regulations, which restricted expansion and added increased regulatory scrutiny on big banks.  Deal activity in the sector languished after the financial crisis as stricter rules were imposed on lenders with more than $50 billion in assets and regulators barred banks with compliance issues from expanding.

Changes in U.S. tax laws have lowered corporate taxes, freeing up capital, and Wall Street has been expecting a wave on deal making in the banking sector.

BB&T shareholders will own 57 percent of the combined company and SunTrust will own the rest.  Analysts Stephen Scouten of brokerage Sandler O’Neill said he expected the deal to get regulatory approval.  “These are both very clean banks, so ultimately it should get done.”

The deal is expected to close in the fourth quarter.  The two companies called it a merger of equals, valued at $66 million.