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Hancock opening Nashville office as part of beefed up medical lending

GULFPORT — Hancock Holding Co., parent of Hancock and Whitney banks, is increasing its healthcare lending along the Gulf coast and opening a loan office in Nashville to meet the capital needs of a booming medical sector in the Tennessee capital.

The $21 billion Hancock Bank said in a press release Tuesday that the new lending focus is a response to a boom in healthcare hubs across its five-state Gulf South market and the emergence of Nashville as a destination for healthcare companies. The city is already the home of more than 300 healthcare companies, according to Hancock.

Hancock, which operates under the Hancock Bank and Whitney Bank names , said it has a  purchase agreement for outstanding healthcare loans from United Community Banks, Inc., of Blairsville, Ga. Hancock also assumes UCB’s lease on a Nashville loan production office. Additionally Hancock has hired four Nashville bankers with significant healthcare lending experience.

The UCB deal adds about $190 million to the $830 million in outstanding healthcare loans already on Hancock’s books and brings some of Nashville’s top healthcare bankers to Hancock’s century-old organization, the bank said.

Hancock Holding Co. President & CEO John M. Hairston said the additional bankers will continue to grow the bank’s healthcare portfolio in Nashville and throughout Hancock’s footprint.

“As baby boomers age, America and, especially, the Southern U.S., have seen tremendous expansion in healthcare and related sectors focused on research, education, and medicine,” he said.

Hancock and Whitney banks already serve such growing healthcare markets as Houston, Baton Rouge, New Orleans, the Mississippi coast, Hattiesburg and Mobile, as well as the Florida cities of Pensacola, Tallahassee, Jacksonville and Tampa.

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