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Remembering former Regions CEO Stan Mackin

Brian Mackin spent four days sorting through a tidal wave of texts, phone calls and emails remembering his father, Stan. The messages were constant: everyone had good memories to share of the former Regions Bank CEO.

“He touched so many people,” Brian said. “He was a Godly man, first, and he was a family man. Integrity and character mattered to him, and he lived that way every day.”

A Birmingham native, Stan Mackin passed away June 11 at the age of 88 after a distinguished career in banking, business, community service and military service. He was laid to rest June 15.

A graduate of Auburn University, Mackin continued his studies as a grad student at Rutgers and Oklahoma while also serving his country. He retired as a commander in the U.S. Navy Reserve in 1961 before returning home and beginning a business career that would eventually lead him into banking.

John Turner, Regions’ President and CEO, called Mackin a “banker’s banker.”

His impact remains viable today, thanks to the name he gave to the growing bank nearly 30 years ago.

“He selected the name ‘Regions’ when the bank replaced the First Alabama name in the early ‘90s,” Turner added. “Stan knew ‘Regions’ was the perfect fit to reflect the company’s expansion into other states. Today, Regions Bank serves people and businesses across the Southeast, Texas, the Midwest, and beyond. We appreciate the legacy Stan left, and we will always work to uphold his commitment to quality service as we continue to build on our growth.”

Mackin began his banking career with Birmingham’s Exchange Security Bank, which later became First Alabama Bank (and, eventually, Regions), in 1966. In 1986, he became Chief Executive Officer and Chairman of the Board of the bank as well as Central Region President of Regions Financial Corporation, an office he held until 1990.

Then, Mackin was named President and Chief Operating Officer of the corporation. In August of the same year, he was elected Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of Regions Financial Corporation. Mackin retired as Regions’ CEO in 1998 and retired from the board in 2001.

Mackin’s tenure marked a period of unprecedented change. Regions grew eight times its size, while maintaining a reputation as a customer service leader despite constant change and acquisitions.

“We did it, I think, properly,” Stan Mackin said previously. “It wasn’t a helter-skelter thing. Everything we did we pieced together where we got all of the economies out of the deal.”

It was under Mackin’s leadership that another move was made that continues to reverberate –becoming the official bank of the Southeastern Conference.

“It was very much forward thinking on his part,” said Bill Ritter, head of Wealth Management for Regions.

Ritter remembers meeting Mackin when he first joined the team.

That people-first mentality helped establish a culture that remained as Regions quickly morphed from a state bank to a regional fixture.

“We continued to grow organically and bring on other banks to be a part of Regions,” Ritter said. “There was a lot of change going on here, and throughout the industry. It was not only wonderful for Regions, but it was wonderful for the state of Alabama to have an emerging regional bank.”

Mackin’s son Brian, the deputy commissioner of Conference USA and former UAB athletics director, said it initially was an era of uncertainty.

“First Alabama, then Regions, was one of the ‘Big Four’ banks in town, and he took over as interstate banking opened up competition,” Brian Mackin added. “Despite that, there was also a deep amount of respect between the banks. He took a lot of pride in giving Regions its new name, and in the growth that followed. Regions was very important to him, and Regions’ legacy remains very important to our entire family.”

Auburn’s J. Stanley Mackin Eminent Scholar Chair in the College of Business was established in his name by the bank’s board of directors in 1996.

He was a recipient of the Auburn College of Business’ “Distinguished Alumnus of the Year” award, the highest alumnus honor given by the college. Mackin was also inducted into three prestigious halls of fame: the Alabama Academy of Honor, Birmingham Business Hall of Fame and Alabama Business Hall of Fame.

And his community service included work with schools, churches and service organizations, including leadership positions with the Boys and Girls Club of Central Alabama, Alabama Public Television and Birmingham Operaworks.

He is survived by his wife of 67 years, Mary Jo Mackin; children, James S. Mackin, Jr. (Koko), Brian W. Mackin and Leah M. Taylor (Bo); grandchildren, Lewis C. McKinney III (Jessica), James S. Mackin III (Melanie), Mackin M. Thompson (George), Charles B. Mackin; K. Ragland Mackin, Margaret M. Ratliff (Philip), Brian W. Mackin, Jr. (Mallory), Will G. Mackin and Mary.

(Courtesy of Regions)