DENHAM SPRINGS – It took help from “the Green Pickle” and associates from across south Louisiana, but Regions Bank held the grand re-opening of its Denham Springs branch on Friday, Jan. 27.
“We’re excited to be here,” said Missy Epperson, private wealth executive and senior vice president of Regions Bank.
“The amazing thing is the resiliency of the associates here,” she said, as the office at 1509 S. Range Ave. was deluged during August’s flooding.
A total of 14 employees are returning to the Denham Springs branch, said Nicole Elmore, branch manager.
It was a week after the flooding before Elmore could get in to assess the damage, she said.
“We had to get back up and help anyone we could,” she said.
That’s what brought “the Green Pickle,” a mobile branch and ATM bearing Regions’ signature green color.
Since the green pickle could only seat two customers at a time, associates handed out numbers to cars in the parking lot to know who to serve next, she said.
Associates from other Regions Banks came to fill in so those hit by flooding were able to address their needs at home, Epperson said.
“Many of our associates went through Hurricane Katrina, so they’ve been there,” she said.
Epperson herself spent 26 hours on Interstate 12 near Holden after floodwaters breached the highway.
When associates sent supplies to the Denham Springs branch, “The associates knew what to put it them,” she said, whether it was cleaning supplies or items needed at home.
“We had to be here,” Epperson said.
The Denham Springs branch has the highest volume of transactions in the region, so Regions officials knew customers would need their services after the flooding, she said.
A Birmingham, Ala., company that specializes in document recovery was brought in since water got into safety deposit boxes, she said.
The company dried out documents and tried to save as many as possible.
And customers will notice some differences in the local branch, Epperson said.
The branch has an emphasis now on “going paperless,” since a growing number of people are doing their banking electronically, she said.
And drive-in customers will find a “virtual teller” offering extended hours, she said.
A Regions Video Banking ATM was installed in the last drive-up lane to connect customers with a video banker via live, two-way video to process transactions and help with accounts and general inquiries.
The video bankers are available from 7 a.m. until 8 p.m. weekdays, 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturday and 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. Sunday. Outside of those hours, its ATM will function as a standard ATM.
“We’ve have positive feedback on the extended hours,” Elmore said. ‘People like seeing someone face-to-face.”
The Great Flood of 2016 also taught Regions Bank a lesson, Elmore said.
“Every branch in the rest of the country now has a plan to address flooding,” she said, from how to help Regions customers to its helping its associates.
Kevin Fambrough is a reporter at the Livingston Parish News. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. You can follow him on Twitter at @fambroughkevin.