TUPELO, Miss., June 14 /PRNewswire-FirstCall/ -- Employees of BancorpSouth Bank, a wholly-owned subsidiary of BancorpSouth, Inc. (NYSE: BXS), a $13.2 billion asset financial holding company, provided assistance in numerous ways to Tennessee residents who were victims of last month's devastating floods.
Martha Thompson, BancorpSouth Regional Marketing Coordinator who works in Jackson, TN, said that bank employees pull together in tough times, treating each other and their customers as family.
"A crisis brings out the best in us," Thompson explained.
When 15" of rain fell on her hometown of Humboldt, TN (just outside Jackson), at a rate of one inch per hour, she knew trouble lay ahead. "By 9 a.m. Saturday, May 1, there were already seven inches of rain. We closed our three Jackson drive-through branches which would have been open until noon. That's the only down-time we had," Thompson explained.
On Monday, May 3 morning, Thompson went to work, first making certain all bank branches were up and running, checked on employees, then customers.
"We managed each problem on a case-by-case basis," Thompson explained.
Several Jackson and Covington bank employees had suffered damage in their homes, ranging from an automobile being damaged to a foot of water in one's house.
Less than one hundred miles to the west, Millington, TN had its BancorpSouth bankers fast at work, too. They set up a collection point at their branch, using an employee's large trailer and a huge banner (donated by a sign maker) that designated the trailer as a collection point for flood victims.
"We worked with the local Baptist Church and asked what was most needed. So we provided them, at their request, cleaning supplies, toiletries and clothes. Our employees and customers all provided items, with an over-flowing of generosity being shown," said Rene Jones of Millington, BancorpSouth Community Bank President.
Later, the naval base outside Millington became the central site for flood victims and BancorpSouth employees and customer donations were directed there.
The Millington effort lasted about three weeks.
"We are very excited about how we were able to help. Our employees and customers really got behind it; we talked it up to customers. It was very dear to our hearts because the heaviest damage was very close to our branch location. It is the most meaningful project we've ever done," Jones said.
In the state capitol city of Nashville, specifically its Franklin suburb, a number of BancorpSouth employees, ironically, were helping build a Habitat for Humanity house on Saturday, May 1, the day the floods came. Most of their work that day on the house was indoors, so when it was time to leave, most of the bankers experienced great difficulty getting to their homes, with a normal 15-minute drive taking as long as two hours.
The Nashville Division branches partnered with Second Harvest of Middle Tennessee and became a drop-off point for non-perishable food. The bankers there also worked with "Hands On Nashville" and a local Catholic church that was very involved in flood relief efforts.
"The flooding in Middle Tennessee has brought out the best in all of us – from our communities and our BancorpSouth family. Our staff has and will continue to work in these affected areas to make life better for our neighbors," said Ken Farmer, BancorpSouth Nashville Division President.
The floods, as traumatic as they were, provided heartwarming experiences for BancorpSouth bankers.
"The floods spoke to the type bank BancorpSouth is. We are a caring bank that believes in its employees, its customers and its communities. You just don't see that everywhere," Thompson said.
Floods are not the only natural disasters BancorpSouth has faced. Thompson has witnessed four tornadoes in the Jackson area in the last ten years. In each of them, BancorpSouth was there to lend a helping hand.
Thompson summarized it perfectly, "BancorpSouth is a very caring bank."
BancorpSouth, Inc. is a financial holding company headquartered in Tupelo, Mississippi, with approximately $13.2 billion in assets. BancorpSouth Bank, a wholly-owned subsidiary of BancorpSouth, Inc., operates approximately 314 commercial banking, mortgage, insurance, trust and broker/dealer locations in Alabama, Arkansas, Florida, Louisiana, Mississippi, Missouri, Tennessee and Texas. BancorpSouth Bank also operates an insurance location in Illinois. BancorpSouth's common stock is traded on the New York Stock Exchange under the symbol BXS.
SOURCE BancorpSouth, Inc.