TUPELO – In an effort to move toward “one-stop shopping” financial capabilities, the $9 billion-asset Tupelo-based BancorpSouth Inc. announced Oct. 10 the
signing of a definitive agreement to acquire the Pittman, Seay and Turner Insurance Agency of Jackson.
The deal, which is expected to close in the next 30 days, will be immediately beneficial to earnings, according to BancorpSouth’s insurance presence in the central part
of the state. The terms of the acquisition were not disclosed.
The announcement comes on the heels of BancorpSouth’s merger closing with the former El Dorado, Ark.-based United Bancshares in August, which expanded the
company’s traditional banking geographic footprint to six states. The Pittman Seay and Turner acquisition enhances what BancorpSouth officials hope will be a
growing insurance stakeholder in the region.
In 1999, BancorpSouth acquired Steward Sneed Hewes, one of the top 100 insurance agencies in the nation. While the Stewart Sneed Hewes deal brought a strong
insurance presence in the southern part of the state and a Tupelo office was opened, BancorpSouth officials wanted to bolster activities in the Jackson area. The
principals of the Pittman, Seay and Turner firm, John Pittman, Sam Seay and Tommy Turner, are all long-time residents of the Jackson area and the company has a
staff of 18 sales and support personnel.
In a glimpse of the company’s strategy moving forward, BancorpSouth is “actively looking to expand” its insurance services throughout the six-state market area and
“will consider other similar acquisitions,” said Chris Kelley, an analyst with Morgan and Keegan and Company in Memphis.
Officials said discussions about the merger began earlier this year. The Pittman, Seay and Turner agency will begin operating under the Stewart Sneed
During a press conference in Jackson, Pittman said that the merger represented an opportunity to be a part of a larger organization that provided expanded marketing
strengths. The combined insurance entities boast property and casualty insurance, accidental and health insurance, life insurance and specialized lines of coverage,
among other services.
Dubbing the Stewart Sneed Hewes merger a “tremendous success,” Kelley said the most recent insurance merger underscores BancorpSouth’s goal of becoming a
multi-faceted financial services provider. He acknowledged during the press conference that the integration of insurance activities into broader corporate strategies
would be critical to longer-term achievement of this goal.
Industry analysts note that some bank insurance acquisitions have operated in “parallel play” – the insurance companies are owned by certain banks, but aren’t
effectively integrated into strategic objectives. However, BancorpSouth officials say that the company is committed to being a full-service financial marketer.
Kelley said conceptually that the acquisition makes sense given the industry’s increasing emphasis on non-traditional and fee-oriented activities.
Contact MBJ contributing writer Karen Khaler Holliday at email@example.com or (601) 364-1018.
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