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Regions, AmSouth marriage on track in the Magnolia State

Regions and AmSouth banks are about to become Mississippi’s largest bank when the merger of the two financial institutions becomes complete the last weekend of this month. The final conversion will take place the last weekend of the month and be complete on October 29.

That’s when signs at all 145 branches in the state will reflect the Regions name and new logo. Bank officials say the bank’s level of customer commitment is symbolized by new signage with a life-green color pyramid as the cornerstone of the logo design. The pyramid is divided by four radiants that create five sections representing each of the bank’s five basic values: put people first, do what is right, reach higher, focus on the customer and enjoy life.

“The pyramid points upward and symbolizes our philosophy of always improving service and doing everything we can to make life better for our associates, our customers and our communities,” said Grayson Hall, Regions senior executive vice president of the General Banking Group.

‘Uplifting and bold’

In Mississippi, Alon Bee is pleased with the way the merger is moving along and he likes the new logo. “The merger makes us stronger,” he said. “We refer to the new color as life green. When I look at it, it’s very uplifting and bold. The re-designed logo and lettering reflects putting a new company together.”

Bee is the city president for Jackson and is responsible for commercial banking, business banking, commercial real estate and private business for the entire state. He and the other employees of the two banking systems want the merger to be seamless for customers. He hasn’t seen any reluctance about the merger from his customers.

“I’ve been so pleased. There’s been a very positive response,” he said. “I attribute that to our people who’ve had 246,850 hours of employee training to prepare us for this conversion. The employees have been so diligent.”

Asked if he and other employees are afraid the bank will become too large and lose the local touch, Bee says he’s confident that won’t happen.

“For the most part, the banks will have the same employees who go to church with our clients, coach soccer, give to the United Way and are involved with local communities,” he said. “Since I’ve been with the bank I’ve been with four companies, and I joke that I still have the same phone number.”

Keeping it local

Bank employees are encouraged to maintain that local involvement, and Bee says that won’t change under the merger. Regions Bank matches employee contributions to local charities.

Nor does he expect business to be any different. “It will be the same, and we’ll have the same personal relationships,” he said. “We’ve been very careful during this process. We’ve had mock conversions.”

In addition to new signage and logo, observers will see personalized Regions auto tags beginning October 29. The license plates will state, “Regions: Expect More.” “We think clients can do that with us,” Bee said.

New construction

But there are bigger changes coming with the merger. Regions will spend approximately $24 million in new construction within the Jackson city limits. Included in the construction are the renovation of the operations center, a new branch on Old Canton Road and Township, a new facility at Jacksonian Plaza and another new branch planned for South Jackson in 2008.

“We took out the old Jitney gas pumps on Old Canton Road and hope the new branch will lead to some renewal there,” Bee said. “We will take out the old Krystal at Jacksonian Plaza. We have a dedication of resources and capital in Jackson.”

About Lynn Lofton

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