Paul Jones Jr. has been a major force instrumental in the growth of Compass Bancshares, Inc., now BBVA Compass, in addition to his work in law and with other organizations.
Upon his retirement, Compass said, “Paul has provided the leadership necessary to allow Compass to enjoy financial success through a variety of economic environments. His track record of increased profitability while creating shareholder value is unmatched throughout the financial services industry.”
Jones graduated from The University of Alabama in 1964 with a bachelor’s degree in commerce and business administration and completed a J.D. degree from the Alabama School of Law in 1967. He also received an LL.M. in Taxation from New York University.
In 1967, Jones joined the predecessor to the Birmingham law firm of Balch & Bingham and practiced there for some 10 years. While with Balch & Bingham, he served for a number of years as the principal legal counsel to Compass Bancshares, Inc.
While engaged in the practice of law, Jones was a member of the Board of Bar Examiners of the Alabama State Bar and a frequent lecturer on banking and corporate law. He served as the chair and as a member of numerous law revision committees and participated in work on the Alabama Banking Code, the Alabama Business Corporation Act, the Alabama General, and Limited Partnerships Acts, and revisions to the Alabama Uniform Commercial Code.
Jones joined Compass in 1978 as its senior vice president, general counsel, and a member of its board of directors.
In 1991, Jones became chairman and chief executive officer of Compass. At that time, only 10 percent of its $5 billion in assets was outside Alabama. Under Jones’ leadership, Compass acquired 60 banks, insurance agencies, and asset management firms; however, much of the company’s growth was organic, with acquisitions serving primarily as entry points into desirable, high-growth markets.
When Jones retired in March of 2008, the bank had grown to $47 billion in assets, had 622 offices in seven states, employed more than 12,000 employees, and ranked as the 26th largest bank in the United States based on deposits. When Compass was purchased by the Spanish bank BBVA in September 2007 for $9.6 billion, approximately two-thirds of its assets were located outside Alabama.
During his time as a banker, Jones was involved in the formulation of legislative policy for the banking industry through the Government Relations Council of the American Bankers Association. He also was president of the Alabama Bankers Association, and a director of the Association of Bank Holding Companies, the Financial Services Roundtable, and its predecessor, the Reserve City Bankers Association.
Jones also served as a director of the Federal Reserve Bank of Atlanta from 1993 to 2000, after being appointed by the board to fill an unexpired term. He was subsequently elected by banks in the Sixth District to two additional three-year terms. During his tenure, he served variously as chair of the personnel committee and as a member of the audit committee.
In addition to his professional contributions, Jones has been an active supporter of education, particularly at The University of Alabama, where he has served as a member of the President’s Council at both the Birmingham and Tuscaloosa campuses. He is a member of the Board of Visitors of the Culverhouse College of Business Administration. Two endowed chairs, established jointly by Jones and his late wife, Charlene Jones, together with resources from Compass, have been funded at the Culverhouse College of Commerce and the Law School.
Active in civic affairs, Jones has served as chairman of the Business Council of Alabama, and as a director of the Economic Development Partnership of Alabama, the Alabama Symphony, the Public Affairs Research Council of Alabama, and the Greater Birmingham Chamber of Commerce.
On the charitable front, Jones has supported the United Way through the Alexis de Tocqueville Society, the Salvation Army, the Multiple Sclerosis Society, the Juvenile Diabetes Foundation, and the Alabama Liver Foundation.