Regions Financial names Charlotte exec, sees ‘more hiring’ ahead

Regions Financial has named a Charlotte-based executive to run its growing capital markets business, which is housed in a new office near uptown.

In his new role, Terry Katon, who joined the Birmingham, Ala.-based bank from Bank of America in 2009, will lead a group that helps corporate customers raise capital by issuing debt and other products. The unit is based in Atlanta, but Katon, 46, will continue to live in Charlotte.

As a sign of the bank’s growth in Charlotte, Regions moved into a new office on Morehead Street late last year. It’s home to more than 20 people who work in Katon’s capital markets group and in another banking group that serves specific industries.

Recent hires include Mike Grady, a former Wachovia banker who runs Regions’ consumer industry banking group.

“You will continue to see us grow,” Katon said. “We will have more hiring here in Charlotte.”

Regions is the latest bank to build capital markets and investment banking operations in Charlotte by scooping up former Bank of America and Wachovia bankers. Minneapolis-based U.S. Bancorp and Atlanta-based SunTrust Banks are among the institutions with presences here.

Regions is a midsized bank with $117 billion in assets and a territory that covers 16 states in the South, Midwest and Texas. It has retail branches and commercial bankers in Charlotte.

The company has stayed committed to the capital markets business even after selling off its Morgan Keegan retail brokerage unit to Raymond James in 2012. The sale helped Regions repay $3.5 billion it received through the U.S. government bailout program.

Regions isn’t trying to recreate the retail brokerage business that sold stocks and bonds to retail investors, Katon said. Instead, it’s focused on helping corporate customers.

In the competitive banking business, it’s a service that corporate customers expect from their bank, he said.

“In today’s banking world you have to be able to fill out the suite of services that you provide your clients along with lending,” he said. “When we sold Morgan Keegan, there were services we were missing. We had to reconstitute those.”

As it expands, Regions isn’t looking to compete directly with investment banking giants such as Bank of America Merrill Lynch, which needs to land huge deals to make an impact on its profits. The Alabama bank focuses on “mid-corporate customers” with annual revenues of $250 million to about $2 billion, Katon said.

“For us,” he said, “that is our core business.”