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Mississippi bankers get new chair, association board members

Hancock Bank President & CEO Carl J. Chaney has a busy year ahead heading up a large bank acquisition and chairing the Mississippi Bankers Association.

He will be guiding his Gulf Port regional bank’s takeover of New Orleans-based Whitney Bank Holding Co. and leading his fellow Mississippi bankers in setting the banking association’s policy and strategies during a time of extensive regulatory change for the banking industry. The phasing in of provisions of the Dodd-Frank financial reform law begins in July.

The Federal Reserve recently approved Hancock’s acquisition of Whitney. Hancock is to buy back Whitney preferred shares, which were issued to the U.S. Treasury in exchange for $300 million as part of the government’s troubled asset relief program.

The combined bank will be headquartered in Gulfport, although Hancock has said that it will maintain a small regional management office in New Orleans. The bank will operate under the brand name of Hancock in Mississippi, Alabama and Florida, while current Whitney Bank locations in Louisiana and Texas will keep that name, the Associated Press reports.

Chaney took over as chairman for 2011-2012 during the association’s annual convention in Sandestin, Fla., in mid May. As chairman, he will lead the association’s 20-member board.

The membership of the 122-year-old association includes 100 commercial banks and savings institutions – representing 99 percent of the bank deposits in Mississippi.

Other board officers are Vice Chairman H. Gregory Taylor, chairman, president & CEO of Merchants & Farmers Bank in Holly Springs, and Treasurer Odean Busby, chairman & CEO of PriorityOne Bank in Magee.

Newly elected board members are:

–Pat Biglane of Vidalia, La., president & CEO of Concordia Bank in Natchez.

–Randy Randall of Indianola, president & COO of Planters Bank & Trust Co.

–Hugh Tate of New Albany, senior VP of loans at BNA Bank.

–Bryan Thornhill of Greenwood, president, CEO and director of Bank of Commerce.

–Max Yates of Ridgeland, executive VP and chief risk officer at BankPlus.

Ted Carter/MBJ

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