- The Washington Times - Friday, January 23, 2004

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) — Regions Financial Corp. and Union Planters Corp. have agreed to merge in a $6 billion deal that creates a Southeastern banking powerhouse.

The agreement, announced yesterday, continues the consolidation of the U.S. banking industry and would create the nation’s 14th-largest bank holding company in total deposits, according to the Standard & Poor’s credit rating agency.

The new company will be known as Regions Financial Corp. It will have total assets of $81 billion, total deposits of $56 billion, 5.1 million customers, 1,400 branches, 1,700 automated teller machines and more than 140 brokerage offices across 15 states from Texas to the Atlantic coast.

Its banking operations will be based in Birmingham, Ala., where Regions is currently based. Union Planters is currently based in Memphis, Tenn.

Morgan Keegan’s brokerage operations, acquired by Regions in 2001, and the combined mortgage business, will be headquartered in Memphis, Tenn.

“The combination of our two companies will create a new regional force in the banking and financial services industry and further our respective strategic objectives,” said Carl E. Jones Jr., chairman, president and chief executive of Regions.

The companies described the transaction as a merger of equals, with neither side getting a premium on their shares. Shares of both companies surged on the news.

The boards of directors of Regions and Union Planters will be combined into a 26-member board that will be evenly divided between the two banking companies.

Mr. Jones, 63, will be chief executive of the new company until his planned retirement in June 2005. He will then be succeeded by Union Planters chairman, president and CEO, Jackson W. Moore, 55. Mr. Moore will serve as president of Regions until he becomes CEO.

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