GULFPORT, Miss., Oct. 30, 2014 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- Hancock Holding Company (Nasdaq:HBHC) today announced the signing of a purchase agreement under which Community Trust Bank in Ruston, Louisiana, has agreed to acquire four of the company's Whitney Bank retail locations in Houston, Texas. The company is also announcing plans to open two new business financial centers, or "BFCs," in the Houston area in the coming months — one in the Museum District/Medical Center area and the other in the Energy Corridor. These BFCs, along with future locations, will reflect the concierge business banking format of the company's first Houston BFC opened in the Woodlands in August 2014.

"This past year, we aligned our business model and leadership with the various opportunities in our markets, adopting business-focused strategies in several of the markets across our franchise, including Houston," said Carl J. Chaney, President and CEO. "Part of executing that strategy involves replacing some of our traditional retail banking locations with BFCs. Today's announcement helps our company balance where we do business with opportunities to redirect capital toward initiatives that grow our franchise and build greater corporate value."

As part of the branch acquisition, Community Trust Bank expects to acquire approximately $15 million in loans and to assume approximately $135 million in deposits. The branch locations to be sold are

12600 Memorial Drive, Houston, TX

6767 FM 1960 West, Houston, TX

5115 Main Street, Houston, TX

8002 Kirby Drive, Houston, TX

"Houston is a growth market for Whitney Bank," said Donovan C. Broussard, Whitney Bank regional president for the Texas market. "We are continuing to make significant investments in the market to serve our clients more efficiently and effectively. Recently we expanded our efforts in commercial and industrial (C&I) middle market lending with the hiring of a group of experienced professionals. This addition, coupled with the opening of new BFCs, will enhance our overall presence in the market."

The sale of these branches, which is subject to regulatory approvals and certain closing conditions, is expected to be completed in the first quarter of 2015.

About Hancock Holding Company

Hancock Holding Company is a financial services company with regional business headquarters and locations throughout a growing Gulf South corridor. The company's banking subsidiary provides a comprehensive network of full-service financial choices through Hancock Bank locations in Mississippi, Alabama, and Florida and Whitney Bank offices in Louisiana and Texas, including traditional and online banking; commercial and small business banking; energy banking; private banking; trust and investment services; certain insurance services; mortgage services; and consumer financing. More information and online banking are available at and

Forward-Looking Statements

This news release contains "forward-looking statements" within the meaning of section 27A of the Securities Act of 1933, as amended, and section 21E of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934, as amended, and we intend such forward-looking statements to be covered by the safe harbor provisions therein and are including this statement for purposes of invoking these safe-harbor provisions. Forward-looking statements provide projections of results of operations or of financial condition or state other forward-looking information, such as expectations about future conditions and descriptions of plans and strategies for the future.

Hancock's ability to accurately project results or predict the effects of future plans or strategies is inherently limited. Although Hancock believes that the expectations reflected in its forward-looking statements are based on reasonable assumptions, actual results and performance could differ materially from those set forth in the forward-looking statements. Factors that could cause actual results to differ from those expressed in Hancock's forward-looking statements include, but are not limited to, those risk factors outlined in Hancock's public filings with the Securities and Exchange Commission, which are available at the SEC's internet site (

You are cautioned not to place undue reliance on these forward-looking statements. Hancock does not intend, and undertakes no obligation, to update or revise any forward-looking statements, whether as a result of differences in actual results, changes in assumptions or changes in other factors affecting such statements, except as required by law.

For More Information
Trisha Voltz Carlson
SVP, Investor Relations Manager

R. Paul Maxwell
VP, Director Corporate Communications