Ward Cheatham will retire as head of corporate specialized banking and member of the executive leadership team at Regions Bank at the end of the year. Joel Stephens, Regions’ current head of capital markers, will succeed Cheatham and Rit Amin, Regions’ current head of corporate and institutional markets, will succeed Stephens. The leadership changes will go into effect on Jan. 1, 2024.
Cheatham joined Regions in 1996 as a commercial real estate executive. Throughout his time at Regions, he served in a variety of leadership roles across the corporate banking group, including division executive for commercial and industrial lending, capital markets, leasing, healthcare and asset-based lending. In addition, he served as head of commercial middle market and treasury management sales.
“Throughout his time with Regions, Ward Cheatham has made a deep impact by building strong teams that have enhanced and diversified our capabilities as a leading financial services provider,” Ronnie Smith, head of the corporate banking group for Regions Bank, said. “As a result of Ward’s strategic guidance, Regions has strengthened how we deliver specialty banking capabilities and localized coverage for corporate banking clients. We appreciate Ward’s service to Regions, and we wish him well in retirement.”
“At Regions, our focus is on providing industry expertise, guidance and tailored financing solutions to meet our clients’ needs today and into the future,” Cheatham sai. “It has been an honor to be part of the Regions management team and to lead our bankers, who are making a meaningful difference in the success of many of today’s major employers. I am confident Regions’ corporate specialized banking teams will continue to grow and excel under the direction of Joel Stephens.”
Stephens joined Regions in 2008 to lead the real estate capital markets group. He was named head of Capital Markets in 2019. During his 15 years at Regions, Stephens has helped expand Regions’ services and solutions for capital markets clients, including growing specialized banking teams managing HUD lending for multifamily and senior housing developments, building greater agency lending solutions through Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, delivering Low-Income Housing Tax Credit program services, and guiding commercial real estate loan syndication efforts.
Additionally, Stephens helped lead the integration of Sabal Capital Partners into Regions Real Estate Capital Markets, an acquisition expanding Regions’ work in small-balance commercial real estate lending through SNAP, a technology-enabled platform that automates and drives efficiencies across the life-of-loan process, from loan origination through servicing.
“Our growth strategy centers on deepening client relationships and connecting our clients with a team of local bankers who bring deep industry and product expertise,” Stephens said. “Regions understands the importance of listening to our clients, then tailoring effective financing solutions to meet their strategic objectives in all economic cycles. I’m incredibly excited to build on the outstanding corporate banking platform Ward has established.”
Amin is a veteran banker of nearly 30 years who joined Regions in 2013 as head of corporate and institutional markets. During his decade-long tenure in this role, Amin has led teams providing clients with advisory and capital-raising expertise across a variety of industries and capital markets, including loan, fixed income and equity markets. Amin’s experience and insights have also been key to the integration of acquired affiliates BlackArch Partners in 2015 and Clearsight Advisors in 2021. BlackArch Partners and Clearsight Advisors are advisory firms for mergers and acquisitions that operate across multiple industry sectors serving entrepreneurs and private equity clients. Under Amin’s direction, Regions also expanded its mergers and acquisitions corporate finance and advisory capabilities for middle-market and corporate clients.
“I am proud to build on our capital markets capabilities with Regions’ continued focus on deepening client relationships instead of taking a transactional approach,” Amin said. “We serve our commercial, real estate, corporate and institutional clients with teams that have experience in all capital markets conditions and segments, and that expertise is critical to serving our clients. I look forward to working with all our leaders across the corporate banking group to drive market-based solutions to our clients, thereby deepening Regions’ ability to meet the needs of our clients today and into the future.”
“Joel Stephens and Rit Amin are proven leaders who are guided by in-depth experience and a clear focus on delivering superior client support,” Smith said. “I am confident that our teams will continue to provide strong value and competitive solutions to clients across all corporate banking divisions.”
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