There isn't a new bank in town. It just looks that way.
Regions Bank, the Birmingham, Ala.-based lender with six Charleston-area branches, rolled out a new logo and corporate image this week.
The move comes as Regions completed its merger with AmSouth Bank, a deal that brought together Alabama's two largest banks.
The new corporate color for Regions — called "life green" — was created by mixing the green from Regions' old logo with the blue of AmSouth's. The new color adorns the 2,000-plus retail branches of what is now the 10th-largest U.S. bank.
The two lenders officially combined in early November 2006. This week Regions said it has completed combining its infrastructure with AmSouth's systems in 11 states, including South Carolina, a task that required it to convert more than 7.2 million deposit accounts and 840,000 loan accounts.
The company said it expects to wring $300 million in cost savings from the merger this year, twice the original forecast. The deal, combined with strong results at Regions' investment banking unit, also contributed to a 12 percent gain in third-quarter earnings, pushing net income to about $394 million.
Even so, profits were a nickel a share shy of the 69 cents per share that analysts polled by Thomson Financial were expecting, on average.
In Charleston, Jim Holland, Regions' local market president, said the bank has spent much of the last year "looking inward." With the local communities "so well-banked," all lenders have to find a fresh way of doing business, he said.
Holland said Regions has held the line in its core areas of real estate, business banking and private banking. But with the mechanics of the reconstituted company now operating smoothly, he said, it's time to start looking forward and get back on the street.
By mid-2008 Regions hopes to start construction of a new North Charleston office on Rivers Avenue to replace an existing location on Ashley Phosphate Road.