A Publication of WTVP

The name might not be familiar yet, but Regions Bank is trying to change that. "A new regional force in banking and financial services was created by the recent merger of Regions and Union Planters," according to Tom Netzer, community president of Regions Bank in Peoria, Springfield, and Lincoln.

He said Regions has had a very proactive advertising campaign to introduce people to the change, which included print, TV, direct mail, and radio. "Chamber of Commerce ribbon cuttings have also taken place in many of our areas. More importantly, as the public visits our locations, they’ll see for themselves the changes-ranging from improved product offerings to a reinvigorated and empowered staff."

With the merger, the two banks now operate 1,400 offices and 1,700 ATMs across a 15-state geographic footprint in the Midwest, Texas, and other southern states, he said. "The leadership of Regions has done an outstanding job of integrating all of the institutions, growing a common culture and turning it into a financial powerhouse."

And while the bank’s name may be new, its origins date back to the 1800s. "Regions Financial Corporation has been serving customers with strength and stability for more than 135 years. Our founding vision was to go from ’good to great’-never settle for good when great is the goal," Netzer said. "As we help our customers and communities realize their dreams, we need to anticipate, understand, and meet financial needs by having responsive associates who have the ability to build effective solutions. As we’ve embraced that philosophy, our vision has matured into ’everyday confidence’ for our customers and associates. Confidence to not only provide them with the everyday products and services they need, but to help them plan for the future. It also means we’re committed to a consistent, ever improving quality of service." Netzer said Regions offers a full array of checking and savings accounts, money markets, credit cards, construction loans, mortgage loans, commercial loans, home equity loans, student loans, auto loans, personal loans, investments, insurance, cash management, online banking and billpay, check cards, estate planning, and retirement accounts.

All of these services grew as the company grew over the years, thanks in large part to Regions Bank having a long-standing reputation as a company that focuses on its associates, Netzer said. "As a result, employees are strong advocates for the company. Regions has been ranked twice as one of the 100 Best Places to Work. In addition, providing exceptional products and services, along with exceptional customer service, has made our company continue to grow."

Over the next 10 years, he said the focus on being a premier financial advisor will continue as they offer convenience in banking, with products and services to meet customers’ needs. "In addition, we’ll strive toward ’one-shop banking’ by offering consumer and commercial banking, investments, insurance, and mortgages all under one roof at Regions Bank. Our branch networks will continue to expand, focusing on the Southeast and Central Midwest. Our product offerings and delivery will become even more customer focused and friendly. Our associates are the keys to our success; more recognition, empowerment, and career opportunities will allow us to attract and retain the finest in the industry."

Although it seems like a new bank pops up every week, Netzer said Regions stands apart from the crowd. "In addition to being rated as one of the best companies to work for in the South, it’s also been rated as a strong technology-oriented company. This is extremely important, as each year technology improves our product offerings and delivery services."

There have been many recent trends that have impacted the banking industry, he said. "Deregulation has forced the industry to operate more efficiently. With the reduction of many corporate pension plans and the increase in 401(k)s, earnings pressure on public traded companies is greater today than ever before. In addition, competition has made us become more aggressive in looking for new business opportunities. The change in being able to provide more products and services has been a positive one, making it much more convenient for the consumer."

Netzer said the most challenging aspect of being part of his industry is also the most rewarding aspect. "It’s the necessity of offering top notch customer service. This means fully exploring a customer’s needs and working together to find the best fit of products and services. This can only be accomplished with an outstanding team of employees. Building that team is the upper part of the hierarchy that allows us to deliver on that challenge."

The big challenge lately for Regions has been introducing a new identity to customers, but Netzer is confident that familiarity will breed trust. "Regions is a vital part of the Peoria market and fully committed to making this a better place for all of us. We’re committed to growing the market and being a strong corporate citizen to Peoria and surrounding communities."

Local Regions Bank locations include 805 West Jackson in Morton; 111 West Washington in East Peoria; and 401 Main, 210 NE Madison, and 4516 North Sterling in Peoria. IBI