GULFPORT — At the turn of the 20th century, 19 South Mississippians envisioned a bank committed to helping local people succeed. So, with $10,000 in capital and a business plan built on core values, they opened Hancock Bank.
On Oct. 9, Hancock Bank will celebrate 115 years of serving the Coast with festivities in Lighthouse Park at the bank’s downtown Gulfport headquarters.
Scheduled from 11:30 a.m.-1:30 p.m. and open to the public, the bank’s birthday party will feature music, food, art, military and local non-profit groups. According to John Hairston, Hancock’s CEO and COO, the celebration honors the people and traditions that set the Coast apart as a hub of opportunity.
“When the people who depend on us succeed, we succeed. Together, we create stronger, better opportunities for our community,” said Hairston.
At the event, Café Climb, a Coast organization helping people build career paths in the catering, restaurant and food service fields, will provide lunch for a “nominal charge.” All lunch proceeds benefit Café Climb.
Memorial Hospital will be at the park for free health screenings, the Humane Society of South Mississippi will be on site and Mississippi Power Company will distribute free energy-saving light bulbs. The Gulf Coast Art Association will also hold a special gallery exhibit in the One Hancock Plaza lobby.
Additionally, the bank will present its Pacesetter campaign results to the United Way of South Mississippi, and local Hancock associates will wrap up a three-week food drive benefitting Feed My Sheep. Hancock will also give away special prizes during a live radio remote broadcast, including football tickets.
Hancock Bank was founded in Bay St. Louis on Oct. 9, 1899. Today, despite a business footprint spanning a 1,200-mile corridor from Houston, Texas, to Tampa, Florida, the company’s corporate headquarters is still a Coast landmark. Hairston said that for practical reasons, Hancock has regional headquarters in other key markets, but the company’s corporate home remains in South Mississippi.
“Hancock Bank and the Coast have grown up together. It’s been a 115-year friendship based on trust. Whether we’re bracing for economic storms or full-force hurricanes, celebrating good news or community growth, we do so together. That’s what friends and family do. That’s why our heart is always on the Coast,” Hairston added.