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Slower Growth 'Would Be a Good Thing': BB&T CEO

Friday, 19 Aug 2011 | 12:41 PM ET

The U.S. is not heading to a double-dip recession but "we're clearly slowing," BB&T Chief Executive Kelly King told CNBC Friday.

"I think we’re going to be in for several years of relatively slow growth," he said. "In all honesty, I don’t think that’s a terribly bad thing."

BB&T CEO: Europe Bank Crisis Overblown
While European banks do have substantial investments in sovereign debt, the concerns in Europe are overblown and the banks will get through this rough patch, says Kelly King, BB&T Corporation chairman/CEO.

The regional bank executive noted the U.S. "went through 20, 30 years of too-fast growth. Everybody bloated their balance sheets and leverage got too high, so a slow period of growth would be a good thing. We would all have to adjust our standards of living to that. It would be better for our kids and grandkids after all is said and done."

King said slower growth will create diminishing loan growth for banks, but will force a greater focus on cost controls.

"It’s not the end of the world," King said. "What we really have here is not a crisis of debt, it’s not a crisis of financial systems. We have a crisis of leadership" that is keeping businesses from investing.

"The good news is the system is not broken," he said. "People are ready to invest. We need positive leadership out of Washington. Then I think you'd see the business community rally and we'd be well on our way to a sustained positive recovery."

King also thinks talk of an "imminent, absolute crisis" in Europe "is overblown. I believe [European banks] will be able to get through it. They’ve raised a lot of capital and so in terms of any impending crisis I would discount that. They have a rough patch, but I think they’ll get through it."