Union Planters Corp. and Birmingham, Ala.-based Regions Financial Corp. have signed a merger agreement that will create the nation's 12th largest bank holding company.
The new bank will be called Regions Financial Corp.
Union Planters has 16 banks in Southeast Missouri, ranging from Ste. Genevieve south to Poplar Bluff. Because Regions does not already have any banks in the area, the merger is not expected to affect employment or lead to closings at Union Planters branches in the region, bank officials said.
"I think it will be transparent to the customer," said Doug Watson, community president for Union Planters in Cape Girar-deau.
Watson said he had no knowledge of the merger until his boss called with the news Thursday night. "It came as a pleasant surprise," he said.
Watson said both Union Planters customers and employees should be pleased with the services and work environment that will be offered by Regions.
In 2003, the U.S. Small Business Administration named Regions Financial Corp. the No. 1 small business-friendly financial holding company in the country. Computerworld magazine included Regions in its 2003 list of the 100 Best Places to Work in Information Technology.
If the merger is approved by regulators and the financial institutions' shareholders, the new bank will have 5.1 million customers in 15 states. With combined assets of $81 billion, the company when merged will have 1,400 branches, 1,700 ATMs and more than 140 brokerage offices.
Locally, the merger adds to a lineage that stretches to the founding of Cape County Savings Bank in 1888. Cape County Savings Bank bought First Federal Savings and Loan in 1990. The following year, the bank changed its name to Capital Bank.
Union Planters bought Capital Bank in 1996, the same year it acquired First Financial Bank.
The newest transaction is scheduled to be finalized by June. Victor Rocha, a spokesman for Union Planters at the company headquarters in Memphis, Tenn., said the transition is expected to be completed by 2005.
Union Planters Bank was founded in 1869. Jack Moore, CEO of Union Planters Corp., will become president of Regions Bank.
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