June 01, 2011

Birmingham, Ala.-based Regions Financial Corp. ($132 billion in assets) and its customers have experienced hurricanes, tornadoes and the Gulf oil spill. Though each disaster has brought unique challenges, Regions has taken some of the lessons its learned and created a permanent Disaster Resource Center on its website.

Regions' Disaster Resource Center was built in response to the 2010 oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico. As businesses and individuals were affected by the disaster, the bank wanted to establish a one-stop information page detailing contact info, financial programs, financial assistance and linking to resources.

"Following the tornadoes and the flooding and some other events we’ve experienced this year, we decided to revamp that online resource center and make it a permanent piece on Regions.com," says Regions spokeswoman Evelyn Mitchell.

The now-permanent disaster resource page is meant to be hub for tools and information where customers can find bank phone numbers, assistance programs, disaster-specific resources, a financial checklist and links to relevant outside agencies.

Mitchell says each disaster has been unique, the bank has worked to proactively reach out to customers with information. For example, following the tornadoes in Alabama, the bank began a proactive calling program to business customers to offer assistance if necessary. In Alabama Regions is offering special loans, waivers on penalties for CD withdrawals, deferred payments on various loans and discounts on new business loans.

While online resources can help customers with a lot of banking basics, Regions also has taken measures to ensure branch continuity following the recent disasters.

In Tuscaloosa, Ala., Mitchell says the bank deployed its portable bank branch, a custom-built vehicle that houses two full-time bank associates, an ATM and full network connectivity. At another branch that was hit with outages, the bank has built a secure wireless network.

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