Merger brings two branches to county

Thursday, July 1, 2004
Michael Polk, president of Regions Bank

On June 30, Regions Bank in Piggott and Union Planters Bank in Rector will join in a national merger creating the only bank in Clay County with more than one branch.

Though the merged bank will be Regions Financial Corporation, the best elements of both banks will be combined to form the programs and accounts that will best suit the customers, a company spokesman said.

Michael Polk, president of the Rector and Piggott branches of Regions Bank, has a positive feeling about the merge.

"I'm excited," Polk said, "I have worked with both staffs and they are good people who are well-trained and know their jobs."

All 12 employees of the two branches will remain after the merger. For the customers of either branch there should be no sudden changes. Both branches will continue to operate as usual until spring 2005.

On a national level, the merge will create the l2th largest bank holding company in terms of deposits. Because of its national status and the fact that Regions Bank is the number one market share in six southern states including Arkansas, those with Regions accounts will find it easier to access their accounts from locations across the nation. Approximately 125 branches will be available across Arkansas offering ATM access. Branches are also conveniently located in close or frequently visited Missouri towns, such as Poplar Bluff, Cape Girardeau, Dexter and St. Louis.

As one of the largest banks in the nation, Regions Bank can offer a wide variety of financial options that smaller banks cannot, the spokesman said. Included in these options are Regions Mortgage Company, Morgan Keegan brokerage services and Rebsamen's Insurance.

Both Regions Bank and Union Planters have been very agriculture-oriented in lending. Nationally, Regions Bank ranks 10th in agricultural lending and Union Planters ranks sixth. Upon the merger they combine to become fourth largest bank lending to agricultural businesses. Polk said this is important in Clay County, especially as most of its small businesses are agriculture-oriented.

"I feel this merger will be really good for Clay County," Polk said, "because many people live in Piggott and do business in Rector, and the other way around. This will make business easier."

Polk and his wife Krystal live in Rector and they have two daughters, Lauren and Katy. He has worked in the financial service industries in banking or as a stock broker since 1987. He received a degree in psychology in 1994 and a master's degree in business administration in 2000.

Polk is currently a member of Northeast Arkansas Workforce Investment Board, president of the Rector Chamber of Commerce, vice president of the Piggott Chamber of Commerce and is the associate pastor at the First Baptist Church in Rector.

Interested persons may contact Regions Bank in Rector at 870-595-3591 and in Piggott at 870-598-1106.

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