PNC is spending billions to cement its place among America’s largest banks. The Pittsburgh-based lender with a big presence in the Triangle announced Monday that it was acquiring the American unit of Spanish financial group BBVA for $11.6 billion.

The deal makes “a top five U.S. bank with a coast-to-coast national franchise. I could not be more excited about this acquisition and the many opportunities it presents for our company and for our stakeholders,” said Bill Demchak PNC Chairman and CEO said in a statement.

It also “significantly accelerates PNC’s national expansion strategy,” PNC said in a statement.

William Demchak (PNC photo)

“Over the last few years, we have focused on organic growth, including the ongoing expansion of our middle market corporate banking business and our digitally-led efforts to expand retail banking nationally,” Demchak said. “While we have made tremendous progress, accelerating our national scale is critical for us to effectively compete with our largest competitors. And that is precisely our intent with BBVA USA.”

BBVA’s US subsidiary has over $100 billion in assets, and operates more than 630 branches in seven US states.

PNC said the deal would give it “a coast-to-coast franchise with a presence in 29 of the 30 largest markets in the US.”

The deal is all-cash. It’s expected to close in mid-2021 pending regulatory approval.

PNC is largely a regional bank and the deal would give it a presence across the U.S. Mergers and acquisitions of big banks have declined greatly since the financial crisis in 2008. Regional banks face stiffer competition now from big national banks and have been hurt more than larger banks by low interest rates.

Shares in BBVA jumped more than 15% in Madrid on Monday. Those in PNC were up 1.8% in premarket trading.

The president of BBVA, Carlos Torres Vila, said the price of the deal was high, at about two and half times the level analysts had valued the U.S. unit. “The price represents almost 50% of BBVA’s market capitalization, for a business that generates less than 10% of our profit,” he said.