Regions to close 121 branches; BancorpSouth reports earnings drop

October 23, 2009 9:38:00 AM



Regions Financial Corp. has announced plans to close 121 branches in cost-saving move, but northeast Mississippi branches will be spared, a company spokesperson said. 


Evelyn Mitchell, communications manager for Regions Bank, said eight Mississippi locations will close to consolidate with nearby branches. None of the eight locations are located in northeast Mississippi. 


Underperforming branches are closed on a case-by-case basis depending on location, proximity to other branches, and traffic and growth patterns, she said. 


"This is something we do periodically. We''re always looking at our branch network to make sure we''re serving our customers efficiently," said Mitchell. 


She says most of the consolidations include branches located within one mile of one another. 


Regions announced the consolidation plan Tuesday while reporting a third quarter net loss of $437 million, or 37 cents a share, compared with net income of $79.5 million, or 11 cents per share, in the year-ago period. 




BancorpSouth earnings below expectations 


Tupelo-based BancorpSouth Inc. posted a 24 percent drop in third-quarter earnings Thursday, blaming the reduction partially on an increase in nonperforming assets. 


For the three months ending Sept. 30, BancorpSouth earned $21.5 million, or 26 cents per share, compared with year-ago earnings in the third quarter of $28.3 million, or 34 cents per share. 


Analysts surveyed by Thomson Reuters, on average, had forecast per-share earnings of 35 cents for the latest quarter. 


Nonperforming assets increased to $173.7 million from the year-ago figure of $97.7 million. During the quarter, BancorpSouth put aside $22.5 million, compared with $16.3 million in the third quarter of 2008. The jump in nonperforming assets included one loan of $10.7 million that was placed on the list during the most-recent quarter, the company said. 


CEO Aubrey Patterson said BancorpSouth continues to have "a strong capital base, high quality assets and a solid banking franchise." 


The company also said its profit was cut by a $4.1 million decrease in the value of its mortgage servicing rights and a $2.7 million jump in rates charged by the Federal Deposit Insurance Corp.