- Associated Press - Tuesday, February 4, 2014

BIRMINGHAM, Ala. (AP) - Birmingham-based Regions Bank is expanding a loan program designed to create jobs in Alabama.

Regions earmarked $1 billon for its Alabama Economic Development Loan Pool last year to help foster job growth. It ended up lending more than $1.3 billion, which was tied to about 2,000 new jobs. The bank announced Tuesday it is allocating $1.5 billion for the loan pool this year.

Gov. Robert Bentley said he appreciates Regions’ commitment to job creation.

The bank said one of the loan pool’s major projects was $6 million for the Dothan-Houston County Airport Authority. It used the money to renovate a hangar for Commercial Jet to locate in the southeast Alabama county. Commercial Jet is supposed to create an estimated 500 jobs by 2017.

Other projects that made use of the loan pool included a new facility for Deshazo crane company in Birmingham, which resulted in 15 new hires; an expansion for Horizon Shipbuilding in Bayou la Batre, which is adding 127 workers; and the opening of Selma Urgent Care, an emergency care center in Dallas County.

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