Academic journal article ABA Banking Journal

For One Big Bank. It Was Improvise and Adapt

Academic journal article ABA Banking Journal

For One Big Bank. It Was Improvise and Adapt

Article excerpt

At the end of the long days that all ran together back in those first weeks after Katrina, Michael Lindsey would jot down notes in a log he kept before catching a few hours steep. He would note only the decisions that had been made beyond the norm--but there were a tot of those. Like the one to buy two diesel trucks and have them outfitted with 150 gal. fuel tanks. The problem had been that company courier vans could get from Tupelo in the northern part of Mississippi to the coast with supplies, but didn't have enough gas to get back, and couldn't get any down there.

Lindsey, first vice-president, call center and electronic banking for BancorpSouth, the $11 billion-assets Tupeto-based regional says the company quickly sent down facilities management teams to assess the damage to the 36 branches that were in the affected areas. Two branches--D'Iberville and Edgewater, Miss.--were pretty much destroyed by the storm, he says.

The bank quickly realized that many employees, even in the inland city of Hattiesburg, where BancorpSouth has a large presence, were in dire straits without power or drinkable water. So they loaded up the banks' courier vans with cases of water and nonperishable food from Sam's Club and drove it down there (the vans could get to Hattiesburg and back on a tank of gas). The bank also put out a call to all its employees for clothing. Later, when the Gulfport, Miss., airport reopened about a week after the storm, the company plane was loaded with hot food in insulated containers and frown to employees in that coastal city. …

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