In the ‘Golden Age of Radio,’ listeners in the 1930s were regaled with commentary on current events, news, entertainment, sports and, of course, business. Fast-forward to the digital age, where media consumption stretches beyond the innovative imaginations of Guglielmo Marconi and Aubrey Fessenden.
Regions commercial banker J.D. Mealor, who has a background in mass communications, embraced the digital medium and found a calling behind the mic. Marrying the gift of gab with his financial prowess, Regions Business Radio was born.
Many businesses moved to a virtual work environment in 2020 as a global pandemic spread, accelerating the growth of the digital landscape. In Gwinnett County, Georgia, home to nearly 1 million people and 34,000 businesses, Mealor saw the opportunity to share his insights – and those of other Regions financial professionals – with business owners and leaders as they sought to adapt to rapidly changing market conditions.
“With in-person meetings put on an indefinite hold in 2020, we really wanted to find a way to reach business owners and leaders in Gwinnett County when and where they wanted and needed,” said Mealor, North Georgia market executive for Regions Commercial Banking. “I’m a podcast junkie and thought, what better way to share the Regions story and introduce the market to some of our local leaders and industry professionals.”
Enter Regions Business Radio
In December 2020, J.D. hosted the inaugural episode, “An Introduction to Regions Business Radio,” to share Regions’ core values and begin a year-long series covering topics on banking, lending, mortgages, wealth management, and business. During the first six months of the series there have been nearly 600,000 downloads of Regions Business Radio episodes.
Brian Willman, head of Regions Commercial Banking, recently joined Mealor in Gwinnett for visits with the team, clients and local business owners and leaders. He also took the opportunity to join Mealor in the studio to talk about the business climate in Gwinnett and beyond. The former Duluth resident shared his insights on the importance of relationships and investing in the communities in which Regions’ bankers live and work.
“If our communities that we live and work and play in are growing, it’s beneficial for all people involved, our business, our customers, as well as our employees,” Willman shared. “We take that very seriously at Regions. And I think that’s a core tenet of our go-to market strategy.”
Mealor shared that the manufacturing, wholesale, and distributing professional services industries in Gwinnett County employ 316,000 people, include 34,000-plus businesses and 600-plus international businesses, and have more than 119 million square feet of industrial space and 34 million square feet of office space.
“During the business day, Gwinnett surges to (a population of) 1.8 million because of all the employees that come to Gwinnett County,” notes Mealor.
As a result of the growth in Gwinnett County, Regions is growing in this market, adding branch locations and commercial bankers to better serve both consumers and business clients. The recent grand opening of the new Suwanee branch looked a bit different than a typical bank grand opening. The team took the show on the road, delivering 400 meals, provided by Chick-fil-A, to healthcare heroes working at Northside Duluth.
Supply Chain. Talent Shortages. Fraud. Leadership.
Mealor and Willman cover these and more in the 60-minute episode “Commercial Banking at Regions.”
“If you’re a manufacturer, you’re obviously very concerned about raw material prices right now,” Willman said. “You’re concerned about your supply chain disruptions, your ability to get product. And then, the demand for your product is probably at a point that you never thought you would be in a COVID world. How do you realize that revenue potential with all the disruption in addition to the challenges with qualified labor and workforce?”
These are the conversations Mealor, Willman and bankers across the Regions footprint are having with business customers every day.
“What we have found most recently is manufacturers are really interested in vertically integrating their supply chain as much as possible. So, to the extent that there are acquisitions within their supply chain that they want to take more control of, we can help them with capital to do that,” Willman said. “I also think that there’s going to be more merger and acquisition activity than we’ve seen thus far in terms of valuations.”
As business owners reevaluate their financial goals and look ahead to the future, there are more conversations around whether it may be time to consider selling or bringing in outside investors. The Regions Commercial Banking team and Wealth Management teams can work in tandem to support those financial goals from both the business and personal perspective. An earlier episode of Regions Business Radio featured Georgia and South Carolina’s Regional Executive of Wealth Management Ty Smith talking with Mealor about these meaningful “360-degree” relationships with Regions clients, where the bank can provide the full suite of financial solutions to a client to achieve their goals.
“To me, that’s why we do what we do,” said Willman. “There’s no greater satisfaction than helping a business owner achieve their goals, both near term and long term. Because it benefits them, it benefits their family, their associates and it benefits the communities we serve. You can’t underestimate the impact that just having a definitive planning conversation can have.”
Check out full episodes of Regions Business Radio, part of Business RadioX programming, on your favorite streaming service to find more from Regions’ financial professionals as they share their latest insights on what matters to business owners, leaders and consumers. Episodes are streaming on Business RadioX and streaming services such as Google, Apple, iHeartRadio, Podchaser, and Audible. Additional insights from Regions Bank financial professionals can be heard on monthly episodes of Gwinnett Business RadioX. Region’s relationship with Gwinnett Business Radio and Regions Business Radio is part of the Bank’s Grow Gwinnett Strategy.
Check out these episodes and more: