Hancock must sell several Whitney branches to complete merger

BILOXI, MS (WLOX) - WLOX News has learned that before Hancock Holding Company and the Whitney Holding Corporation merge, eight Whitney branches must be sold.

In a statement from the Hancock Holding group, we learned the Department of Justice has signed off on a plan to sell eight branch offices in Louisiana and Mississippi, with approximately $202 million in deposits, to resolve antitrust concerns about the companies' pending merger. The department said that, with the divestitures, the merger would not have an adverse effect on competition in local markets for retail banking or small business banking services.

As a result of the proposed acquisition, Hancock will become the 32nd largest bank in the nation, with about $20 billion in assets and about $16 billion in total deposits.

The branches are:

Whitney Miss. Harrison 2605 Pass Road Biloxi 39531

Whitney Miss. Harrison 1300 25th Avenue Gulfport 39501

Whitney Miss. Harrison 11281 U.S. Highway 49 Gulfport 39503

Whitney Miss. Harrison 573 Courthouse Road Gulfport 39507

Whitney Miss. Harrison 198 Klondyke Road Long Beach 39560

Whitney Miss. Hancock 800 Highway 90 Bay Saint Louis 39521

Whitney Miss. Hancock 4402 Kalani Drive Diamond-head 39525

Whitney La. Washington 600 Columbia Street Bogalusa 70429

The divestiture is a requirement by the Department of Justice in order for the merger to proceed and to ensure compliance with antitrust laws.

"With the divestiture, consumers and small businesses in local markets in Louisiana and Mississippi will continue to enjoy the benefits of competition in banking services," said Christine Varney, Assistant Attorney General in charge of the Department of Justice's Antitrust Division.

The proposed merger is subject to the final approval of the Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System. The department said that it will advise the Federal Reserve Board that it will not challenge the merger provided that the parties divest the branch offices specified in the agreement and associated loans and deposits; and provided that the parties commit to the Federal Reserve Board that they will comply with the agreement with the department.

The Hancock Holding Company, headquartered in Gulfport, is the parent company of Hancock Bank (Florida and Mississippi), Hancock Bank of Louisiana and Hancock Bank of Alabama. Hancock has about $8.2 billion in assets. It offers banking and financial products and services at more than 180 locations.

Whitney Holding Corporation is headquartered in New Orleans and has approximately $11.5 billion in assets. Its primary bank subsidiary is Whitney National Bank, which operates a branch network in Alabama, Florida, Louisiana, Mississippi and Texas.

More on this story later today on WLOX News and WLOX.com.

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