Carl E. Jones, Jr.

Carl E. Jones, Jr. graduated from The University of Alabama in 1962 with a degree in finance and two job offers. He chose to take the position of management trainee at Merchants National Bank of Mobile, a small decision that set the stage for a long extremely successful banking career.

Jones began his career selling data processing services to smaller community banks and later became a commercial lender. Then in 1978, just 14 years after his arrival at Merchants National, Jones was promoted to president of the Mobile bank, making him the youngest president of a major bank in Alabama. By 1981, he was the president, chairman, and chief executive officer of the bank in Mobile.

Later that same year, Regions Financial Corp., then known as First Alabama Bancshares, acquired Merchants National, and in 1984 Jones became regional president, overseeing the banks in Louisiana and south Alabama.

In 1997, Jones advanced to become president and chief operating officer for Regions nationally, and in the following year, he took on the role of chief executive officer. Two years later in 2000, Jones took on the additional role of chairman of Regions Financial Corp. At that time Regions held just more than $23 billion in assets and consisted of 435 offices in eight states.

Under Jones’s leadership, the bank nearly quadrupled in size through acquisitions and internal growth, becoming one of the top 15 bank-holding companies in the U.S. As Jones reached the age of 65 and stepped down as CEO in May 2005, Regions had more than $84 billion in assets and five million customers served by 1,400 offices in 16 states. While Jones served as CEO, earnings increased every year, and the annual dividend was also raised yearly up to $1.40. When he retired, Regions Financial was the largest publicly traded company in Alabama, as measured by stock market values.

Jones, who fully retired in April of 2006, says that he was “just privileged to be there with a hand on the steering wheel while all that was happening.”

The hands on the steering wheel were more able than the modest banker would admit. J. Stanley Morgan, the former CEO of Regions, said Jones is “not only a seasoned banker, but he is a man of exceptional integrity.”

Throughout his life, Jones has demonstrated true leadership qualities, as well as the motivation to succeed. In high school, he was elected president of his senior class and the student council, along with acting as captain of the basketball team. He graduated as the top student in his class from University Military School in Mobile before continuing to The University of Alabama.

Jones also stood out as a leader among his peers in the college setting. He served as president of the Kappa Alpha fraternity, chairman of the senate finance committee in the Student Government Association, and chairman of the Student Health Insurance Commission. During his senior year, he was recognized with the award for outstanding SGA senator, and the Alabama Bankers Association presented him with the award for outstanding student in banking and finance.

After graduating from The University of Alabama, Jones continued his education, attending Louisiana State University Graduate School of Banking, the National Commercial Lending School at The University of Oklahoma, and the Graduate School of Credit and Financial Management at Dartmouth.

Despite many additional years of education after graduating from The University of Alabama, Jones never forgot his original alma mater. As an alumnus, he has served on the Board of Visitors for the Culverhouse College of Business for nearly 30 years. He has held a seat on every President’s Cabinet since David Matthews’ term in 1969. During the University’s capital campaigns, Jones volunteered his time, including serving as one of four co-chairmen of the very successful national capital campaign completed this summer (2009). His wife, Ann, who he met while they were both in school at the university, was another co-chairman, and the team’s combined efforts exceeded the $500 million goal by 22 percent as they raised more than $612 million.

In 2005, Regions Financial established an endowed scholarship fund at The University of Alabama in honor of Jones. The company donated $1 million for full-tuition scholarships for dependents of Regions employees. Jones and his wife, Ann, tripled the amount with an additional $2 million gift of their own. Currently, over 20 students are utilizing these awards.

Jones’ generosity and years of hard work for The University of Alabama have not gone without recognition. Jones and his wife received the Volunteer in Philanthropy Award in November 2006. In 2007, the couple was again honored at the university, this time with the Frances S. Summersell Award given by the UA chapter of Omicron Delta Kappa.

In addition to his involvement with the university, Jones has also given his time to numerous organizations throughout the years. He has served on several boards of directors, including the Federal Reserve Bank of New Orleans, the Alabama Dry Dock and Shipbuilding Co., the Alabama Chamber of Commerce, and the Alabama Bankers Educational Foundation. Jones was an 18-year member of the Alabama Power Company board of directors, and he was also on the board of the Financial Services Roundtable, a national trade association of the 100 largest financial institutions. Jones chaired both the Alabama Bankers Commercial Credit Committee and the Mobile Area Chamber of Commerce, and he was a trustee for the Public Affairs Research Council of Alabama and the Economic Development Partnership of Alabama.

Somehow, in addition to serving many professional organizations throughout the Southeast, Jones found time to give to several civic groups. He served as president for the Mobile Junior Chamber of Commerce, Mobile Azalea Trail, Mobile Allied Arts Council, and Mobile Rotary Club and national president of America’s Junior Miss. Jones was very involved in education, as well, serving as a chainman for the UMS-Wright Preparatory School board of trustees and trustee for the Mobile Pre-School for the Deaf. He also served as the executive vice president of the Mobile Arts and Sports Association and vice chairman of Infirmary Health System. He is currently active at the Cathedral Church of the Advent.

For his years of dedication to both the banking business and philanthropic causes throughout Alabama, Jones has received much recognition. In 1972, Jones was named Mobile’s Outstanding Young Man of the Year and then a year later became Alabama’s Outstanding Young Banker of the Year. Jones’ high school, UMS-Wright, named him Alumnus of the Year in 1992. The National Association for Community Leadership presented him with the 1997 Distinguished Leadership Award. In November 2004, the Newcomen Society honored Regions and its CEO by named Regions as the featured Alabama company of the year. When Jones retired in 2006, Operations New Birmingham recognized him with the Lifetime Achievement Award, and then in 2007, the Birmingham Business Journal presented him with its Lifetime Achievement Award.

Today, Jones enjoys retirement in Birmingham with Ann, his wife of 47 years. They have two adult children and 3 grandchildren.