BIRMINGHAM, Alabama – It’s a source of capital that has financed nearly $3 billion in business activities since it was launched.
It has helped Alabama land major new employers. It is helping small businesses expand their operations. And it is helping create or sustain thousands of jobs.
But ask Kirk Barrett what he sees as the greatest impact of Regions Bank’s Alabama Economic Development Loan Pool, and he will not point to business construction or expanded payrolls.
Barrett is chief operating officer of Haynes Ambulance of Alabama. Last year, Haynes turned to Regions for loan pool financing to help the company bring air ambulance service back to Alabama’s River Region, including Montgomery and surrounding counties.
With the financing, Haynes bought an AS350 medical helicopter. The company hired four pilots, a mechanic, and 10 additional medical personnel.
Haynes Life Flight took to the air in June 2014. Since then, Barrett has seen first-hand the impact that air ambulance service is having on Central Alabama. And that, he says, is the greatest benefit of a company like his having the financing to grow and serve more people.
“We’ve been able to touch hundreds of lives because of this service,” Barrett said. “We fly an average of more than 40 patients a month. Many of those patients wouldn’t have a chance without a service like this available.”
Haynes exemplifies the hundreds of companies that have received financing from the Alabama Economic Development Loan Pool provided by Regions Bank. While most of those companies are not in the business of saving lives, they are all, in one way or another, in the business of creating or sustaining jobs, providing needed services, or supporting the quality of life in their communities.
It is for those reasons that Regions is renewing its commitment to the Alabama Economic Development Loan Pool for 2015. Before year’s end, Regions is dedicated to providing another $1.5 billion to support businesses and entities that are growing, modernizing, expanding, and more, throughout Alabama.
“Regions Bank is committed to serving as the economic development bank of Alabama,” said Bill Horton, South Region president for Regions Bank. “When we launched the Alabama Economic Development Loan Pool in 2013, we knew we had an opportunity to help more companies access capital, grow their business, and create more jobs. Since then, we have seen so many opportunities come to fruition. From major employers to startups to companies in between, the loan pool is available to drive business expansion throughout our home state. And we are honored to renew our commitment for 2015.”
Regions works closely with the business community and the Alabama Department of Commerce to identify potential candidates for loan pool financing.
“Over the past two years, this Regions Bank initiative has achieved an impressive track record of helping Alabama businesses upgrade their facilities or expand their operations,” Alabama Secretary of Commerce Greg Canfield said. “Regions’ renewed commitment to this loan program will sustain that momentum, creating countless additional jobs across the state.”
Companies interested in learning more about Regions’ Alabama Economic Development Loan Pool can contact a Regions banker or visit a local branch for a referral.
As Barrett was describing the expansion his company has seen, one of his teams was airlifting a stroke patient from Alexander City to Birmingham. The week before, a team helped save a 2-year-old who nearly drowned – but was able to make it to Children’s of Alabama in time to receive critical care.
“We’re able to provide a higher level of care,” Barrett said. “We have a critical care paramedic and a critical care nurse on board with the pilot. They have advanced skills that they can go above what we do on the ground. And they can be there in just a fraction of the time.
“The volume is here; there is a definite need,” he added. “And we’re grateful that a source of financing like this was available to help.”
That source will remain in place as Regions seeks to work with current and prospective employers on more projects in the future.
“The Alabama Economic Development Loan Pool is a great example of a concept that we call ‘shared value,’” Horton said. “Our customers benefit through access to capital, the company benefits by developing stronger relationships with the people we serve, and our communities benefit as more jobs and more economic opportunities are made available.”