A Tale of Two Mississippi Banks

I have great respect for both institutions but in this instance the contrast is striking. We’ll start with Hancock Bank via 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.”

I had this Clarion Ledger story on TARP and Trustmark saved:

If cleared for $215 million in federal funds, Trustmark Corp. plans to invest in both small and large companies, make consumer loans and expand.

Though the funds would come from the $700 billion federal bailout package, Trustmark’s chief executive said the bank remains healthy and simply wants to take advantage of attractively priced capital.

“Trustmark does not need to do this. It’s one of the stronger capitalized banks and above the median of the banks our size in America,” said Richard Hickson, chairman and chief executive officer.

“We view this as an opportunity to have some reasonably priced capital to grow and do business. And (an opportunity) to have some insurance on hand for Trustmark and our customers if this recession becomes as difficult as some of these people in Washington say it might.”

I’ll add IMHO these are the two best run banks in Mississippi but I really have heartburn about financially strong banks like Trustmark taking bailout money.

6 thoughts on “A Tale of Two Mississippi Banks”

  1. Hancock also has its board of directors PAY for their own stock at market rates and they are REQUIRED to buy a certain number of shares per year as part of their service to the bank. Top executives are not given huge stock options nor is the big cheese Leo Seals or as everyone arround here calls him Uncle Leo. His sister is the richest person in america living next to very poor and minority members. Don’t feel sorry for her she has a beachfront home which is quite nice. She is worth well over 200 million at least. Uncle Leo lives in a nice beach front home as well but neither homes are bigger than the typical MD, CPA or lawyer’s home in the area. Their kids spend and live a comfortable middle class life. The fact the family is worth upwords of billion dollars is not even noticed by the locals. Infact his sister and her husband were regulars in the church food lines post-katrina. They used volunteers to help clean their yards and even though their bank sold them their insurance—guess what. They got screwed just as bad as everyone else.
    They are not cheap but they are not intrested in the social seperation which occures when you get super rich. I’ll do anouther post on the Bank.

  2. Let me clarify— Hancock Bank didn’t screw anyone on their insurance post Katrina. What happened is that Metlife(snoopy) was sold via the Bank and Metlife put a pretty bad settlement. I myself would have tried to use my influence to get the insurance company to do a good settlement. Not the family who owns hancock bank. They went out of their way to not be treated different than everyone else and guess what—they got the same treatment everyone else got—screwed. Adventually they MIGHT have gotten a better deal but that would only be if the insurance company started paying their claims. The end of the insurance story with them I never really asked about. I just know I was really a bit shocked to learn they had gotten such bad treatment from the insurance company and it also scared me a bit too when I considered how my parents would be treated by their insurance company.

    You don’t have integrity like that without a good family upbringing. I grew up next to one people who are the major shareholders of Hancock and untill I started going on the internet after katrina I never knew they were rich. I thought they were well off, like a lawyer or doctor. But I didn’t know they were as a family so rich they should be snobs and not associate with the shrimper family who lives right behind their house. Or the african american lady who is very poor and lives right next to them. They don’t purposely try to live next to poor people or minority members— Its just how it is in Bay St Louis. Its always been that way. Hard to describe but the only way I’d want to live now that I’ve seen how good it works. Like I said they have a very nice house on the Gulf of Mexico.

    I know these post are long and probably boring. But they help me a bit so please be patient. Also I will post later on why Leo Seal is the best Banker on planet earth. Really he is. It has to do with his views on what a Bank is and what it’s role is in the community. The fact he knows the real role of bank is only half the story. He is willing to lay down the money to actually live the talk he preaches. More on that later.

  3. First let explain I can’t find the article where Uncle Leo explains what a bank is suppose to be for a community. In it he goes into how a bank is suppose to reassure people that financial stability and health of the community is good. This is real old school stuff which goes back to the depression and to several economic crashes which occured prior to the depression. I did find this article which goes into why people on the Coast are so loyal to Hancock Bank even though the bank is a bit costly in terms of fee’s and rates sometimes.


    “”A little more than two years ago, Hurricane Katrina slammed ashore on the U.S. Gulf Coast, crippling the operations of Hancock Holding Co., whose main footprint lay right in the storm

  4. I think we all have our “Katrina moments” and I found yours really touching as well as interesting. Not boring at all, Steve. Thanks for posting them here on slabbed.

  5. I’ve never had a client complain when I tell them to look at Hancock Bank – their stock (HBHC) that is.

    A testiment to Uncle Leo’s longivity is his hand picked successor George Schloegel is transitioning younger men into senior managment roles. They like to promote from within and their track record identifying talent in their own ranks has been very good.


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