Gov. Phil Bryant visited Hattiesburg’s Lake Terrace Convention Center on April 18 make an economic development announcement.
The Area Development Partnership along with Mayor Johnny Dupree and members of the Mississippi Legislature came together for Bryant’s announcement.
“Regions Bank will locate their new operation center right here in Hattiesburg,” Bryant said. “There I was, a 19-year-old kid, and I went to one of the most prestigious banks in Mississippi [Regions], and they gave me a loan to go to USM, and here we are today.”
Regions currently has locations in 15 different states.
“They could have gone to any other state,” Bryant said. “This was our opportunity to tell Regions, ‘Mississippi believes in you, and we want you to be our bank.’”
The new 75,000 square-foot operation center will employ more than 400 Mississippians.
“I’m sure the 400 employees that will be there will be a lot of students from Southern Miss and Alumni,” Bryant said. “They will be able to work at home near their families.”
Bryant said Regions’ decision will make a significant impact in the Hattiesburg community.
“This means so much to Mississippi,” Bryant said. “I can assure you that there are other governors who will get the message and be disappointed [that Regions picked Hattiesburg], but good.”
Governor Bryant ended his speech by acknowledging Mississippi’s past and looking toward the future.
“We understand the trials and tribulations that this state has gone through, but we also understand the future more than this past,” Bryant said. “This is so important not only for today, but how Mississippians looks at themselves and how the rest of the nation looks at Mississippi as a financial leader.”
Chad Newell, the Area Development Partnership representative, thanked Bryant and introduced Palazzo.
“I’m really just here to just say thank you,” Palazzo said. “Thanks to everybody in this room.”
Palazzo said he felt the community would be involved in Regions’ decision.
“Politics is a team sport,” Palazzo said. “We’ve mentioned a lot about the big players, but it’s a lot about the community as well. We’re all coming together for a single purpose and that’s to improve the quality of life here.
“I’m also pretty certain that the officers who made this decision instinctively knew that the Pine Belt would be a great place for this operation.”
Regions Bank currently operates in Downtown Hattiesburg through three entities including the Regions Mortgage Programs, but was looking for a new location due to expansion.
Greg Garraway, the President of Regions Bank in the South Mississippi said this was a great day for Hattiesburg.
“We employ more people in Hattiesburg than any other bank here in Hattiesburg – talk about home banking,” Garraway said. “We couldn’t have done this without Governor Phil Bryant, the Area Development Partnership and Mayor Johnny Dupree. We’re very proud to be a part of this great city.”
New team leader at the future facility Morgan McCarty said Regions is here for the long term.
“This is my home,” McCarty said. “I’ve never wanted to live anywhere else. We’re very excited about the Regions Mortgage future and the future of Hattiesburg.”
Dupree said there were two winners here today.
“There’s two winners: Lamar County and the city of Hattiesburg,” Dupree said. “All this happened because of the community. It’s built on relationships. It’s a great place to live in Hattiesburg, Miss.”
“This area came together like never before and sent a message to this great bank that we are your home,” Bryant said.