BIRMINGHAM, Ala., April 4, 2013 /PRNewswire/ -- BBVA Compass signed the Employer Support of the Guard and Reserve (ESGR) Statement of Support Tuesday as a gesture of the bank's commitment to hiring and training U.S. veterans. (Photo: http://photos.prnewswire.com/prnh/20130404/DA88593) "Our veterans represent one of the greatest candidate pools," said Jim Heslop, director of human resources at BBVA Compass. "By supporting their hiring and development, we help ensure veterans have a smooth transition from the front lines to civilian life." Heslop signed the Statement of Support at a ceremony led by Bill Kringel, Alabama state chairman of ESGR, at the bank's offices in Birmingham. Ben Blass, U.S. Army Reserves captain and vice president of military recruiting at BBVA Compass, also attended the ceremony, where Heslop received a plaque commemorating the event and an American flag that once flew over the nation's capital. "When we bring veterans on board, we gain employees who are competitive, disciplined and understand the necessity of working as a team to achieve success," Blass said. "Giving back to this community that has given so much to us is the right thing to do and we take this commitment seriously." Heslop said the qualities and traits veterans acquire in the military — leadership, discipline, collaboration and the ability to work through obstacles — are assets for BBVA Compass. The bank's goal, he said, is to help military personnel put those skills to use as they face the challenging transition from active duty. By signing the ESGR Statement of Support, BBVA Compass expanded its commitment to veterans. It recently joined forces with ESGR, the U.S. Army Partnership for Youth Success and several regional Base Transition Offices for its Veteran Recruiting Initiative, which aims to attract highly skilled veterans to the bank. And its "Boots to Banking" mentorship program pairs each newly hired veteran with one already working at the bank who is familiar with the organization and the transition to civilian life and civilian work.