Regions Financial Corp., which operates four bank offices in the Columbus market, has pledged to pay its employees a minimum hourly wage of $15, while also pumping a collective an additional $140 million into the communities in which it does business.
Like other companies have done in recent days, Birmingham, Ala.-based Regions noted in a release Tuesday that the money it is now promising to invest comes “in anticipation of the savings it will recognize as a result of federal tax reform intended to support economic growth.”
Congress passed major U.S. tax reform legislation in December, with it being signed into law just before Christmas by President Donald Trump. The measure lowers tax rates for corporations and small businesses, while also raising the standard income tax deduction for workers, which should put more cash in paychecks when the changes roll out in the coming weeks.
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Regions Bank operates branches on 13th Street and Whittlesey Boulevard in Columbus and on Broad Street and U.S. Highway 431 in Phenix City. It is the fourth-largest bank in the Columbus metro area in terms of deposits, with nearly $182 million, which trails Synovus Bank, SunTrust Bank and Wells Fargo Bank, according to the Federal Deposit Insurance Corp.
“We understand that the growth of our company is based on the economic vitality of the communities where we do business, as well as the work from our team of talented associates who are committed to serving our customers every day,” Regions Chairman and CEO Grayson Hall said in a statement. “The investments we are announcing today in our workforce, our communities and our company reflect our commitment to creating shared value and will support sustainable growth that ultimately benefits our customers and shareholders.”
Regions said the increase in the minimum hourly wage to $15 will kick in by the end of this year. It has about 22,000 employees and 1,500 bank offices companywide. The firm said about 25 percent of its workers should benefit from the hourly pay hike.
The banking firm also said it anticipates raising its capital expenditure budget by about $100 million this year, which would be 50 percent higher than in 2017. The budget covers money spent on facilities, technology and product innovation, it said.
On top of that, the company said it will contribute $40 million to its charitable foundation that supports various areas which impact communities. Those include financial education, job training, economic development and affordable housing, it said.
In recent days, both Columbus-based credit-card processor TSYS and supplemental insurer Aflac have committed cash outlays impacting the employees and communities in which they have a presence. TSYS said it will pay the majority of its staffers a special one-time cash bonus for their efforts and the company’s success. Aflac is increasing the 401(k) retirement savings match for its employees, while offering them a one-time $500 contribution to their plans. Workers also can receive free hospital and accident insurance products.
The two Columbus firms both noted the pledged bonuses and other investments in workers, their operations and communities are being made possible by the passage of the federal tax reform, which should benefit them.