Regions Financial Corp. said Thursday that it would stop making auto loans through dealerships this year.

A spokesman for the $144 billion-asset Birmingham, Ala., company said the plan to close its indirect auto business followed a decision to focus more on originations made within its bank branches.

Indirect auto loans made up 4.2% of Regions' $98.3 billion of loans at June 30.

The company plans to retain the loans it had already originated, the spokesman said. About 50 jobs will be eliminated, he said, though employees would be given opportunities to find jobs elsewhere at Regions.

It notified its 2,600 dealership clients Thursday.

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