Hancock Holding Company declines treasury investment

GULFPORT, MS (WLOX) - Hancock Bank has told the government thanks but no thanks to the financial bailout plan. Hancock Bank's parent company, Hancock Holding announced Thursday it will not participate in 'TARP,' also known as 'Troubled Asset Relief Program' set up to help struggling financial institutions.

Hancock Bank officials say the company is one of the nation's strongest and safest financial institutions and continues to make sound loans.

Paul Maxwell with Hancock Bank said so far, only 20 banks across the country have declined the financial bailout funding.

"After very thorough evaluation and analysis, Hancock's board of directors and senior management have concluded that declining government funding safeguards the best interests of our shareholders and the company," said Hancock Holding Company Chief Executive Officer Carl J. Chaney. "Hancock remains an extremely sound, well-capitalized institution as evidenced by our time-honored corporate values, conservative business model, and proactive risk management practices for ensuring Hancock  maintains adequate capital to fund loan growth and consider potential expansion opportunities."

Hancock remains extremely well-capitalized as of September 30, 2008, with a total risked-based capital ratio of 11.90 percent.  Hancock's decision coincides with a recent BauerFinancial, Inc., rating that endorses the 110-year-old Gulf South financial services leader as one of America's most financially sound banks for the 76 th consecutive quarter.

With approximately $6.74 billion in assets, Gulf South based Hancock Holding Company is the parent company of Hancock Bank (Mississippi), Hancock Bank of Louisiana, Hancock Bank of Florida, and Hancock Bank of Alabama.

Founded in 1899, Hancock Bank operates 164 banking and financial services offices and 136 ATMs along a 600-mile I-10 corridor spanning west central Louisiana to north Florida.