Meet a Regions Hero: Bob Payne

Regions’ head of Governance for the Operations and Technology Bob Payne spent 20-plus years in the Air National Guard, rising to the rank of Lt. Colonel for the 164th Airlift Wing, based in his hometown of Memphis, Tenn.

Neither banking nor military service were part of his master plan coming out of college. Yet the two fit hand in glove.

“I loved every minute of my service,” Bob says. “From my perspective, what translates really well from the military to the civilian side is the common core values of both Regions and the military. They are a perfect match, particularly when at the heart of the core values is putting service before self.”

Bob received his degree in accounting from the University of Memphis, and embarked on a career path as a CPA with a Big Eight accounting firm before going into the banking industry.

Likewise, his military career didn’t follow the normal path.

“I joined the Air National Guard when I was 27 years old, and was commissioned when I was 28,” he says.

Juggling two careers, Bob climbed the ranks with the Air National Guard quickly. He went in as a finance officer, was promoted to wing inspector general and then logistics readiness squadron (LRS) commander and finally mission support group deputy commander, overseeing everything from civil engineering to security forces, communications and personnel as well as LRS. He is also a graduate of Air War College.

“The military teaches you to multitask. In the military, you can delegate decisions but not accountability for those decisions, and that translates well to accomplishing objectives here at Regions,” Bob says.

Regions’ support of troops, whether an effort to raise care packages for our soldiers overseas, business products for military customers or the company’s commitment to associates who serve, resonates.

“I’m always surprised for how supportive this company is of our military. Of course, I shouldn’t be surprised as those values are ingrained in our associates,” Bob says.

Bob joined Regions in 2005, moving from Tupelo, Miss., to Birmingham, Ala., for a new job.

“When I joined the Air National Guard and went through officer training, my wife and I had a 2-year-old and we had another on the way,” he says. “My family has made sacrifices. I’ve had to miss birthdays, ballgames and band concerts, etc.  No one makes more sacrifices than your family. With two career paths going simultaneously, you also have to become adept at managing your time.”

With responsibility as LRS commander, Bob had to decide which reservists were activated for deployment in war zones — vital calls to make that could disrupt lives, even though those who serve understood the consequences.

“It certainly gives you a perspective on business decisions,” Bob says. “I have immense respect for all those who deployed to hostile locations. I greatly admire the service and sacrifice of those men and women.”

Now retired from the military, Bob stays active away from the bank, serving as chair of the audit committee for the Greater Alabama Council of the Boy Scouts of America.

Bob says he remains impressed with Regions’ pledge to military personnel, and particularly to those associates who continue to serve.

“The support of military personnel at all levels in our company is incredible. I am very proud and fortunate to be a part of a company with this service minded culture.”