|This article needs additional citations for verification. (February 2013)|
|Traded as||NASDAQ: HBHC|
|Industry||Finance and Insurance, Securities|
|Headquarters||Gulfport, Mississippi, USA|
|Key people||Carl J. Chaney - CEO|
Hancock Bank is the one of two subsidiaries of the Hancock Holding Company. Founded in 1899, Hancock Bank has grown over the years to become a major player in the Gulf South from Texas to central Florida, and is consistently rated as one of America's most trustworthy banks. Hancock Bank is known for its characteristic lighthouse logo.
Hancock County Bank was founded in 1899 in Bay Saint Louis, Mississippi by nineteen individuals. On its first day, the bank opened with $10,000 in capital and $8,277.41 in first-day deposits. The bank was originally meant to capitalize on the booming lumber, cotton, and wool trades and also the market for poultry and produce. Hancock County Bank opened its first branch office in Pearlington on January 8, 1902, followed by a branch in Pass Christian, the popular destination of Northerners fleeing the brutal winters, and of affluent New Orleanians seeking relief from the sweltering heat of the summers. The Pearlington, and later the Logtown branches closed with the fall of the lumber industry, and the company turned its attention toward Gulfport and Biloxi. The first banana boat had arrived at the Port of Gulfport and fourteen new hotels opened in Gulfport and Biloxi.
With the stock market crash of 1929, 162 Mississippi banks failed, leaving Gulfport without a bank. Some Gulfport residents were already customers at the Long Beach branch and a number of Gulfport businessmen appealed to Hancock County Bank to open a downtown Gulfport branch. Hancock County Bank opened at the corner of 13th Street and 26th Avenue in the former First National Bank of Gulfport Building. In 1933, the bank moved to the location that would become One Hancock Plaza in downtown Gulfport, and the company changed the domicile to Gulfport and renamed the company Hancock Bank.
In 1990, Hancock Bank acquired Baton Rouge-based American Bank of Baton Rouge, this established a formidable presence for Hancock Bank in the Louisiana market. Between 1973 and 1998 Hancock Bank acquired 14 Mississippi and Louisiana financial institutions, increasing corporate assets from $158 million to $2.7 billion. In July 1999, American Security Bank in Ville Platte, Louisiana joined Hancock Bank, raising assets to the $3 billion mark. In 2001, Hancock Bank acquired Lamar Bank opening up the south-central Mississippi marketplace and establishing a presence in Hattiesburg. In 2006, Hancock Bank of Alabama was issued a charter to operate there, and the company opened its downtown Mobile financial center in 2007 and opened four new branches in the area in 2008. In March 2004, Hancock Bank acquired Tallahassee, Florida-based Guaranty National Bank, and opened a new financial center in downtown Tallahassee and four new branches in the area. Hancock Bank continued to expand in the Florida area by opening a financial center in downtown Pensacola, Florida and with the purchase of Panama City's Peoples First Bank.
In Fall of 2004, Hancock Bank also acquired 103-year-old Ross King Walker, Inc., in Hattiesburg, and J. Everett Eaves, Inc., in New Orleans, expanding Hancock Bank's insurance services.
Merger with Whitney Bank
In December 2010, Hancock Bank announced that it would acquire New Orleans-based Whitney National Bank in a stock-for-stock transaction. This merger will substantially expand Hancock Bank's presence in Florida and Texas. Whitney stockholders will receive .418 shares of Hancock stock and five Whitney board members will join the board of Hancock Holding Company. The new entity will have approximately $20 billion in total assets, $16 billion in deposits, $12 in loans, 305 branches, 390 ATMs, and almost 5,000 employees. As part of the merger Hancock Bank will have to pay back the TARP debt still owed by Whitney Bank; Hancock had never accepted TARP funds. Whitney Bank is expected to also add an international market for the new company. It is expected that banks in Louisiana and Texas will retain the Whitney name because of the bank's long history there and customer loyalty, and other banks will be rebranded as Hancock Bank.
Since Whitney Bank was the official bank of the New Orleans Saints it is now expected that Hancock Bank will also be able to use the Saints logo, etc.