- Associated Press - Monday, April 17, 2017

HATTIESBURG, Miss. (AP) - Regions Bank announced Monday that is will build a 75,000-square-foot operations center that could open by early 2019 in Hattiesburg, Mississippi.

Regions said it will create 91 new jobs, bringing its total employment to 420 in the Hattiesburg area.

Employees will move from three current locations in Hattiesburg into the new center, which will house a mortgage division serving customers in the Southeast, Texas and the Midwest.

“Currently, we have people spread across several floors in three separate buildings downtown,” Morgan McCarty, mortgage servicing division manager for Regions in Hattiesburg, said in a news release. “Our new facility will bring everyone together under one roof in a workspace that’s designed to improve communications and efficiencies across our departments.”

Regions - based in Birmingham, Alabama - said it is investing $23 million in the project, with construction beginning late this year. The state of Mississippi is providing $1 million for site preparation. Hattiesburg will repair and repave a road leading to the site and contribute $167,000 for water and sewer improvements. The city and Lamar County are providing property tax abatements for 10 years, which has an estimated value of $3 million, according to Mississippi Development Authority, the state agency that seeks job creation.

Regions is the fourth-largest bank in the Hattiesburg area, with 13.2 percent of overall deposits, according to the Federal Deposit Insurance Corp. Much of the bank’s business in Hattiesburg dates back to the Magnolia Federal Bank for Savings. That bank was bought by Union Planters Bank in 1997, and Union Planters was in turn bought by Regions in 2005.

MDA said the average pay for most associates at the new Regions center in Hattiesburg will be $33,880. Mid-level management positions will average $50,000, and some clerical and office positions will average $27,300.

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