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VOL. 129 | NO. 96 | Friday, May 16, 2014

Trustmark Regional President Reflects on Future

By Andy Meek

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When yours is a bank that’s traditionally had a suburban footprint, moving inside the Interstate 240 loop to open a new regional headquarters is the kind of thing that makes a statement.

Trustmark Bank recently opened a regional headquarters at 5350 Poplar Ave., a move the bank’s region president, Gene Henson, has been looking at for years.

(Submitted)

Trustmark’s newly opened regional headquarters, at 5350 Poplar Ave. in East Memphis, was an attempt to do just that. It came after Gene Henson, the bank’s Memphis region president, had been hunting for such a space for years – for pretty much the entirety of his time in Memphis, actually.

Trustmark’s previous regional headquarters in Germantown, he said, didn’t provide significant brand visibility, so he’d been scouring the area for a more highly visible spot. And once he saw the bank’s new building and saw the opportunity there, he recalls, “I said to myself, ‘This is it.’”

“I think it provides us a high-profile visible location for the Trustmark brand here in this market and is indicative of our positioning in this market and of what we've been able to achieve,” he said.

Among the many benefits of the relocation, from Trustmark’s perspective, the bank scored naming rights as part of the lease it signed in November. Its logo now is visible atop the building.

Also serving to attract Trustmark to the spot was the area’s high traffic count and the message that would be sent by having a branch inside the 240 loop for the first time.

The 163,446-square-foot Trustmark Centre is managed and leased by CB Richard Ellis Memphis. About 13,000 square feet of the first floor and a portion of the second floor includes Trustmark’s regional executive offices and a full-service branch with drive-thru and ATM banking.

That branch inside the new building represents what Henson describes as a prototype design for the future. It has less area than a traditional branch, for example, and a smaller “teller row.”

Traditional bank designs, with large open areas leading up to teller row serving as the center of customer attention, harkens back to a time when customers needed to actually visit a brick-and-mortar branch to complete a transaction.

The orientation of the branch inside Trustmark’s new building, though, speaks to how Henson says “retail consumers have greatly changed their banking habits” in recent years. That’s reflected in the fact the prototype branch operates with only a few tellers, a financial services representative and two drive-thru lanes outside.

Gone, in other words, are vestiges of the banking “supermarkets” that in the past tried to be all things to all people.

“We like to believe we really get to know our customers,” Henson said. “That helps us provide the right financial solutions for them and do it in a very competitive manner. The way we try to stand out is by having people that you trust, advice that works, the capacity the customer wants, the touch of a community bank and quality associates who can provide that advice customers need. I have a staff of professionals I would hold up against anyone. That’s our differentiation.”

Henson added that he’s confident Trustmark will continue to expand in the Memphis market and that the bank is continuing to add “quality, experienced people” across all key areas.

“Trustmark is in growth mode and really has a great story,” he said.

Indeed, the bank reported net income of $29 million in the first quarter, up 13.2 percent compared to one year earlier. Trustmark President and CEO Gerard Host said the quarter’s results, coupled with its profitability and strong capital base, marked a strong start to its 125th year in business.

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