James Stanley Mackin, retired chief executive officer of Regions Financial Corporation, rose to the top of the banking industry thanks in large part to his vision and an uncanny sense of what was right for his company. With Mackin holding the reins, Regions grew from a company with $6.3 billion in assets in 1990 to $43.7 billion prior to his retirement in 2001.
Mackin was born to Louis and Aileen Tanner Mackin on July 30, 1932, in Birmingham, Ala., and grew up on the city’s Southside. He graduated from Auburn University with a bachelor’s degree in Industrial Management and also graduated from the Stonier Graduate School of Banking and the Commercial Lending School at the University of Oklahoma.
After his graduation from Auburn in 1954, Mackin served in the United States Navy on active duty from 1954-1958, before he returned to Birmingham to enter the construction and real estate business. He served in the Naval Reserve from I 950 until 1961 and retired as a commander in the United States Naval Reserve.
In 1966, Mackin entered the banking world and made a smooth transition from building houses to building a bank. He took a job in the Commercial Loan Department with Birmingham’s Exchange Security Bank. By 1971 he was serving as the head of his division in what had become First Alabama Bank. The builder-turned-banker served in numerous and varying roles within the company. He served as a vice president, senior vice president, executive vice president, senior executive vice president and continued to head the Commercial Loan Division until 1983.
In 1983 he was elected president and chief executive officer of Regions Bank. He was elected chairman and CEO of the bank as well as central region president of Regions Financial Corporation in 1986. He held that office until January of 1990. At that point, Mackin was named president and chief operating officer of the corporation. He received yet another promotion in August of the same year when he was elected chairman and chief executive officer of Regions Financial Corporation. Mackin’s leadership and vision led to Regions’ growth not only in assets but also made the company a major presence in the South.
In 1998 Mackin stepped down as CEO but remained chairman of the board and he served in that capacity until his retirement in May 2001 when he reached the mandatory retirement age that he established for the bank. “It’s important to step down and bring in new people with new thoughts and energies,” Mackin told Auburn’s magazine The Shareholder. “All of my waking hours have been devoted to this bank.” Mackin is a 1998 inductee into the Alabama Academy of Honor, created by the state legislature in 1965 to honor living distinguished citizens of the state. That same year, he was honored as a “Builder of Birmingham” by ReEntry Ministries.
Aside from his heavy involvement in the banking world, Stan Mackin has also invested heavily in his community through civic involvement. He has served as a board member for the SETON Health Corporation, Alabama Public Television Foundation, Birmingham Operaworks, and the John Carroll Foundation. He is a member of the Kiwanis Club of Birmingham, Operation New Birmingham, and Leadership Birmingham Class of 1984, as well as Auburn University’s Business School Board.
Mackin has served as the president of the Better Business Bureau for North Central Alabama as well as on the board of directors for both the Boys’ Club and the Jefferson County Boy Scouts.
During his tenure, he was involved in numerous professional organizations as a member of the American Bankers Association, the Alabama Bankers Association, the American Institute of Banking, International Financial Bankers, the Association of Bank Holding Companies, and the Reserve City Bankers. He also was on the Bankers Roundtable Board
and a member of Robert Morris Associates. He is a 1991 recipient of the Auburn College of Business’ “Distinguished Alumnus of the Year” award, the highest alumnus honor given by the college.
In 1996, the J. Stanley Mackin Eminent Scholar Chair in the College of Business was established in his name by the board of directors of Regions Bank.
He married Mary Jo Williams on June 7, 1954, and the couple has three children, James S. Mackin, Jr., Leah McKinney, and Brian W. Mackin, as well as nine grandchildren.