Montgomery Business Journal

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Linwood McClain, MBJ,Trustmark

Downtown Move Pays Dividend

Trustmark grows loans, deposits

October 2016
By David Zaslawsky 
Photography by Robert Fout

In the banking world, executives at large banks talk about their size advantages and small bank officials talk about their size advantages.

“We’re big enough to do business, but we’re not so big that everybody is a number,” said Linwood McClain, who oversees 12 branches as Trustmark regional president for East Central Alabama. “I think the advantage of our size is that we’re large enough to do complex, sizeable credit offerings, but we’re not so large that we’re out of touch with each market that we’re in. We are a series of community banks that fall under the same umbrella and under the same leadership. We are what a lot of banks want to be.”

Trustmark is a relative newcomer to the Montgomery market after acquiring BankTrust about three years ago, but the Jackson, Mississippi-based bank has been around for a long time.

“We are a 126-year-old conservative Southern bank,” McClain said when asked to describe Trustmark, which has $12 billion in assets.

“I feel like my primary job is to tell the Trustmark story in a market that we’re new to,” McClain said. He said that Trustmark “never lost money and we never cut our dividend” during the Great Recession. “We never had a reduction in force. We weathered the downturn because of our capital and because we have such strong leadership that we were able to keep doing business; keep taking care of our customers; and put ourselves in a position to expand into the River Region, which brought us here.”

And here was an interview on the top floor of the Alabama Center for Commerce Building on Adams Avenue. The bank’s logo sits atop the seven-story building and there is a branch on the first floor. It was a very high-profile move.

“People have to know who you are,” McClain said. “Because of our downtown identity, people know who we are. They know where we are. They know what building we’re in. They know we’ve made a commitment and investment in downtown Montgomery. That’s important in a market like this, that people think you’re here to stay. We are.”

It was about 18 months ago that Trustmark opened its downtown branch. “If you’re going to be what I would call a significant factor in the community, you need to be a downtown participant,” said McClain, who joined Trustmark in 1994. “You need to be part of the downtown community. Our presence here has given us lots of opportunities to do business.”

The move downtown enabled the firm to consolidate its commercial lending to one location. Retail lending is performed at the downtown location and the brokerage person has an office there, too. “We have a strong team approach where we are constantly referring different types of customers to different expertise levels that we house in one place,” he said.

Trustmark is one of a few banks in the region that has an in-house trust service, McClain said. The bank also provides investment advice and offers all types of insurance. “In an ever-increasing regulatory world, we’re looking for ways to deliver customer service creatively through these different arms of what people need,” he said.

Customer service is a hallmark of the firm. Trustmark ranked No. 1 in the South Central region in the 11th annual customer service satisfaction survey conducted by J.D. Power & Associates.

“We’ve made a lot of commitment to technology, but we have not lost the personal touch,” McClain said.

He said the firm offers a full range of services for commercial and retail customers and has been a mortgage lender in Montgomery for a long time. “This bank is growing loans and deposits,” McClain said. He estimated that the combined loan and deposit growth last year was almost 20 percent.

Before ending the interview, McClain talked about Trustmark’s program called Gift of Time that enables employees on company time to do volunteer work for nonprofits. He said that time was more than 30,000 hours.

Number of branches  in River Region:
8

Number of branches  in Montgomery:
3

Number of employees in River Region:
57

Number of employees in Montgomery:
36

Years in  Montgomery:

Website:
trustmark.com

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