By Stephanie Sharp…
The bright green color scheme of Regions bank may be hard to ignore, but the social responsibility that comes from this bank is a bit harder to notice. After all, banks are just banks–right? The associates of Regions are working hard to change that by making volunteerism synonymous with their team. In their Social Responsibility report for 2011, Regions showcases stories from the over 1,500 organizations that they supported throughout the year.
PASSING ON RESOURCES
The tornado outbreak on in April saw widespread devastation of communities across the southeast region of the US. There was loss of life, property and security for thousands. Regions was quick to respond to the tragedy, beginning with a $1 million contribution to the American Red Cross Tornado Disaster Relief Fund just hours after catastrophe struck. Mobile branches and ATMs were dispatched to affected areas where access to cash would be of primary concern to survivors of the disaster. In the recovery period that followed, Regions endeavored to lighten the burden of the communities struck by the tornadoes. Loan payments were deferred, penalty-free withdrawals from CDs were allowed, and ATM fees were waived for non-customers using mobile ATMs or Regions customers using other banks’ ATMs.
Aside from easing the blow in tragic circumstances, Regions also helps direct loan funds to their best possible usage. Keith Boling helped Smithson Craighead Academy, part of the nonprofit organization Project Reflect, make the most of a great opportunity. When a donor purchased a new building for the school, this Regions associate helped get the funds redirected to necessary building improvements to get the site up to code. Bolings involvement did not stop with his work though. He now supports the school in his time off the clock, attending school events like football games.
Regions makes sure that all customers—no matter their ability set—can have full access to the financial tools they need to bank confidently. Whether this means providing a sign language interpreter, bank statements in Braille, or audio recordings of the disclosure on a loan document, there is a way to make sure that every customer at Regions gets great service. Cambryn Doran, a Regions customer from Jacksonville, has even been able to realize the American dream of home ownership despite a life-long battle with cerebral palsy and other developmental disabilities thanks to help from Regions banker Ian McDonald.
In such a trying economic environment, it only makes sense that a company filled with financial professionals would pass along their pecuniary savvy to their communities. Basic financial education and strategies can make a difference to individuals, families, and businesses alike.
In Tennessee, Regions banker Kyle Hatler went beyond a simple loan request in his relationship with customers Dan and Janet Brown. The couple owns Leonard’s Barbecue in Memphis and the restaurant needed a new air conditioner. They came to Regions for a loan, but with Hatler’s help, were able to reduce their business overhead and reevaluate their personal finances so that they can retire in just seven years.
Martha South, another Regions banker, was able to share her knowledge with the Jacksonville community. Surprised at the lack of basic financial education, South started a series of seminars to give families and individuals the right steps towards a solid financial plan. The local business partner Cornerstone Properties, saw delinquent rent payments drop from $94,00 to $48,000 in the first three months of South’s seminars.
In Atlanta, Regions saw the opportunity to further the education of students at the B.E.S.T. Academy High School by starting the Youth Savings program at the school. By teaching these students to establish good financial habits early in their life, they are better poised to handle the real-world of personal finance and become leaders in tomorrow’s business world.
CARING FOR COMMUNITIES
While Regions seizes many opportunities that only a financial institution can fulfill, the company is also bursting at the seams with the kind of charity that can only come from dedicated and caring individuals. Regions associates are involved with many kinds of philanthropic project throughout the southeast. They have collected, in the past year, 25,000 pounds of canned goods, 1,400 coats and winter accessories and raised over $72,000 for the American Heart Association through the Heart Walk.
Fanning the flames of collegiate sports rivalries, Regions associates were allowed to don either Alabama or Auburn t-shirts with blue jeans the Friday before the Iron Bowl. In order to show their spirit, associate made donations totaling over $20,000 for Blue Jeans for Babies, supporting the health of babies.
Regions gets involved in the improvement of communities by supporting downtown revitalizations with small business loans and donating to the Teach for America program, which places new teachers in low-income areas so that they can make a lasting impact on the students in the area.
To learn more about what Regions is doing in the Southeast, visit seethegood.com.