Courtney Jeans
Regions Business Capital

Courtney Jeans, who took over as head of Regions Business Capital earlier this year, has held many roles in the asset-based lending industry over the last two decades, but closing deals to help clients accomplish objectives has always been his passion.

As someone with the better part of 22 years of experience in asset-based lending and nearly 30 years in commercial banking overall, Courtney Jeans has no shortage of deals to look back on. However, the ones that stick out the most to him are those that helped clients during major strategic shifts and initiatives, including acquisitions, organic growth and/or return of capital.

For one of those milestone deals, Jeans and his team helped a client fund an acquisition so it could survive a significant change in its industry and remain competitive in the marketplace. After closing the deal, Jeans and his team arranged a dinner to celebrate with the client company’s CEO, CFO and finance staff, but the celebration ended up including more than 30 people, as many staff members and their family members wanted to show their appreciation for a deal that helped save a company that had been family-owned for multiple generations.

“We tend to forget about the personal impact we can have on clients and their families. Experiencing their appreciation that night was a nice reminder,” Jeans says. In addition to relishing the effect he can have on clients and their businesses, Jeans is also passionate about building connections with colleagues, particularly as he’s taken on leadership and mentorship roles during the evolution of his career.

“Ultimately, relationships are the most important and fulfilling aspect of any career, and I have been blessed to have many strong professional relationships over the years,” Jeans says, noting that whether interfacing with clients or colleagues, it is important to stay true to your principles and to put other people first.

The Worth of Hard Work

With such a belief in building strong relationships, it’s no wonder that Jeans is a skilled dealmaker, particularly considering his fondness for the client-facing task of business development, which is more about being a partner than a sales person, according to Jeans.

“My absolute favorite part [of the ABL process] is calling on clients and prospects and helping them accomplish their objectives,” Jeans says. “Providing strong advice as a means of differentiation is one of the only ways of standing out, but very few [people] prioritize it for their clients. It can add significant time and effort to your preparation, but it is certainly well worth it.”

Jeans moved into the ABL business in 2000 after six years in general commercial banking roles at JPMorgan Chase. Jeans got his start in ABL as an underwriter, something he says helped expand his skill set early on. His path to ABL was fueled by his interest in the larger and more complex nature of ABL transactions, particularly the restructuring side of the industry. After starting in underwriting, Jeans would go on to take on roles in credit, portfolio management and sales while covering 12 different cities and five different states at different times, ultimately becoming head of ABL in the Southwest for JPMorgan Chase.

“I have always believed that if I just work hard, other opportunities will present themselves,” Jeans says. “I try not to put too much pressure on one specific role that I would like to have because often opportunity will not come in a linear way. It is important to be open to different things and to be flexible.”

While hard work has begotten many opportunities for Jeans during his career, he also knows that it is important to be proactive and thoughtful with career progression because at some level, “everything is a competition.”

A New Region

Having an open-minded and proactive approach to new opportunities led Jeans to his latest role as head of Regions Business Capital. Jeans joined the company earlier this year after spending the first 27 years of his professional career at JPMorgan Chase. Jeans says he was swayed to make the move because of the opportunity for personal growth and the chance to lead a strong national player in the specialty finance sector.

“Our group has tremendous talent and experience, and we are working diligently to position ourselves to capture market share by delivering long-term value and sound advice to clients,” Jeans says. “Regions Bank has been fully supportive of our strategic initiatives, and we are recruiting heavily to meet our anticipated growth and transformation objectives.”

While relatively early in his tenure at Regions, Jeans has been ecstatic with his first nine or so months in his new role, where he focuses on leadership, strategy and transformation, partnerships across the firm, revenue and profitability growth, the fostering of an inclusive organization, risk management, the development of associates, the push for greater brand awareness and the success of the firm overall.

“It is an exciting time to be at Regions Bank because of the strength of our businesses, the growth of the markets we serve and the transformation the firm is pursuing to position itself for long-term success,” Jeans says. “We have a lot of work to do, but that is what makes it so interesting.”