Hello … Houston?

A technological miscue gave Regions Financial Corp.'s executives an early exit from a difficult conference call this week.

The incident happened at the end of an hour-plus call Tuesday in which the seven preceding analysts had peppered executives with questions about fast-eroding credit quality that contributed to a $244 million quarterly loss at Regions.

Jennifer Demba at SunTrust Robinson Humphrey was slated to ask the last question. There was dead silence.

Next, they offered the floor to K.C. Ambrecht at Millennium Partners. Again, nothing, as something had gone awry with the conferencing system.

"Maybe they all left," whispered Regions' chief financial officer, Irene Esteves.

List Underwood, who handles investor relations, chimed in. "Operator, I think we must have lost some of the last questioners," recommending an end to the call.

With that, a slightly confused C. Dowd Ritter, Regions' chairman and CEO, awkwardly ended the call with his trademark send-off. "We'll stand adjourned."

More B of A Moves

Bank of America Corp. said Thursday that Neil Cotty would return to his post as chief accounting officer Monday, seven months after he left that job. Cotty, 54, had been the chief financial officer for B of A's global banking and global wealth and investment management business after its Jan. 1 purchase of Merrill Lynch.

Cotty succeeded Craig Rosato, who will join the consumer credit risk department. Joe Price, B of A's CFO, said in a news release that Rosato "did a great job" as chief accounting officer, but "there was a greater need for his experience and talent in the consumer credit risk area."

Cotty, who will move back to Charlotte from New York, "provides great experience and, importantly, continuity" by returning to his old post, Price said.

The $2.32 trillion-asset Charlotte company has moved several executives around recently, including the removal of Amy Brinkley as chief risk officer earlier this year.

Rosato, 45, will report to Gregory Curl, who succeeded Brinkley last month.

A spokesman said that Cotty will retain his CFO post in the investment bank until a replacement is named.

Double the Green

Synovus Financial Corp. is finding it easy being green.

The Columbus, Ga., company two months ago gave retail customers an option to replace paper statements with e-mailed updates.

As of Monday roughly 160,000 customers had signed up for e-statements.

Though the program is expected to reduce untold amounts of paper consumption, it is also providing much-needed cost savings for Synovus.

Company spokesman Greg Hudgison said the effort has already reduced expenses by $600,000, or half of the total amount targeted for the program.

He said plans are in place to offer the program to commercial clients.

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