Some of the stories from the post-storm world of Marianna, Florida, border on the miraculous. After Hurricane Michael passed through in 2018, the destruction that followed was catastrophic.
But character isn’t proven in the storm; it shows afterward. And there is something in the story of what the Regions team in Marianna has accomplished – both immediately after the storm and even a year-and-a-half later – that has turned what started as a catastrophe into an opportunity to help a community heal, while providing inspiration for others.
Like many businesses in the Panhandle, Regions’ old Marianna branch building in the center of town suffered extensive damage during the hurricane. Within days, though, Regions’ portable branch facility was on-site to help people and businesses with immediate financial needs prompted by the storm. A larger, modular Regions facility was later moved to the property for bankers to support a wider range of services.
The team is still working in a modular building. But that hasn’t hindered their ability to meet the community’s needs. And before long, Regions will move into a new, modern branch at the old branch site.
“You really can’t say enough for what the team at Marianna has accomplished,” said Lamar Brooks, Consumer Banking Manager. “If you didn’t know that they were working from a trailer, if you didn’t know that they manage people coming in and out of their building, or didn’t know that they don’t have an actual drive-through, you’d look at what they’ve accomplished and think, ‘This is a high-performing branch.’ They’ve really been there for their customers and performed at a very high level.”
And they’ve done it with the same focus that made them vital to the community in the days, weeks and months after Hurricane Michael. Consider this story about how Regions helped Jackson County remove massive piles of storm debris before FEMA funding could arrive. And then there’s this story showing how the bank is helping small businesses get back on their feet.
It’s a reminder that banking is about more than dollars and cents. It’s about providing a financial lifeline in times of need – and a local source of advice and guidance on how a community can move forward in the wake of a major disaster.
Right after the storm hits, this team is helping people – financially and with their own hands.
Lamar Brooks, Consumer Banking Manager
“Think about it for a second,” Brooks added. “Right after the storm hits, this team is helping people – financially and with their own hands. They are serving their customers, delivering water, feeding people – whatever was needed. And they had their own tragedies to deal with.”
Rebuilding has been a long road for people across the Panhandle. For a time, it was unclear whether the old building that used to house Regions’ Marianna team could be restored. But the commitment of the bank and its people to Jackson County was never in doubt. Regions teams are excited to move forward with building a more permanent local home.
“Marianna is a special place to us, and we have seen a spirit of hope renew in the most difficult of days,” said Trey Pleas, Regions’ Marianna branch manager. “Hurricane Michael did not dampen our spirit but reminded us of the importance of this community. Our branch team is one step closer to welcoming customers and others in the community to a more convenient, more meaningful branch experience as construction is completed.”
And as excited as the branch team may be to show that commitment, Regions is just as proud of a team that has truly shown the meaning of being involved.
“You can point to a lot of things at Marianna,” Brooks added. “A great branch leader in Trey and support from Regions. But the success of that branch – both in terms of what they mean there and the results they’ve shown – comes down to a great attitude.”
For Marianna, it’s an attitude that looks beyond having to work in a trailer while questions about the old building were answered. Instead, the team looked ahead to how they could serve.
“Our associates have done an incredible job serving customers while also dealing with their own hurricane recovery at home,” said John Anderson, Regions Consumer Banking Executive. “They understand the needs of this community and are personally committed to Marianna’s long-term recovery. We are excited to finally be able to move forward with construction and look forward to unveiling a completely redesigned, more modern facility that will reflect our continued commitment to quality service and technological innovation.”
“Seeing that three-story building we were in start to come down, you sense the excitement and appreciation that the community has for this team,” Brooks concluded. “They were there when they were needed, in all the ways people needed help. They’ve been there the whole time – with a great attitude, helping and being successful bankers at the same time. Now, as we build a new location, people know. People know that this team is here for them, and this community. And we’re staying in Marianna for our customers.”