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Regions CEO Gets 3.9% Pay Raise

Zacks Equity Research

Regions Financial Corporation (RF) Chairman and Chief Executive Officer (CEO) Grayson Hall’s compensation package received a 3.9% hike on a year-over-year basis, according to a Securities and Exchange Commission (:SEC) filing on Tuesday. Notably, including stock awards, Hall’s pay came in at $10.31 million in 2013, down from $11.90 million in 2012.

The CEO’s pay package includes a base salary of $975,000 and stock awards worth $2.93 million for 2013. He has also received $1.92 million as non-equity incentive plan compensation and $4.5 million as long-term restricted stock awards to be paid out after the company meets profitability targets.

Among Wall Street giants, JPMorgan Chase & Co.’s (JPM) chief Jamie Dimon has received a 74% hike in pay, which totaled $20 million in 2013, while Morgan Stanley’s (MS) chief James Gorman has been conferred with stock bonus of $4.9 million in 2013, up 88% year over year. However, U.S. Bancorp’s (USB) CEO Richard Davis’ total compensation package received a 41% cut on a year-over-year basis to $10.79 million in 2013.

Grayson Hall has been acting as the CEO since Mar 2010. Focusing on traditional banking services, Hall helped Regions navigate through the financial crisis and repay Troubled Asset Relief Program (:TARP) dues in 2012, received as financial help from the U.S. government during the crisis.

Notably, the company’s net income available to common shareholders climbed 10% to $1.1 billion in 2013. Moreover, the company reported total loans of $75 billion, up 1% year over year.

Further, in the stress test results for 2013 Regions emerged triumphant. In its 2013 capital plan, Regions received approval for $350 million worth of share repurchases through Mar 2014. Further, an increase in the company's quarterly common dividend to 3 cents per share was approved.

These factors have made investors more confident of Regions’ growth prospects. Notably, the company's share price rose nearly 36.8% in 2013 following a 64.7% increase in 2012.

We believe Hall’s pay hike will prove to be a major morale booster. The company’s favorable funding mix, improved core business performance, its expansion mode and strategies will continue to yield profitable earnings in the upcoming quarters.

Even though Regions’ fundamentals remain highly promising with a strong balance sheet and improving credit quality, regulatory issues, including lawsuits and the fundamental pressures on the banking sector are anticipated to pose as headwinds to profitability.

Regions currently carries a Zacks Rank #2 (Buy).

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