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Regions, Trustmark in annual rivalry for Mississippi’s deposits

By TED CARTER

Nearly one out of every three Mississippians park their money at either Regions Bank or Trustmark National Bank, a trend that goes back more than 10 years, FDIC figures show.

Together, the two banks accounted for about $14 billion of the state’s total bank deposits of $49.6 billion from June 30, 2014 through June 30 of this year.

Regions, a $121 billion regional banking company based in Birmingham, and Jackson’s Trustmark, a $12.2 billion multi-state banking company, have exchanged top placement in terms of deposits since 2005, with Trustmark at the top for three of the years and Regions for the other years, including fiscal 2015.

Regions regained the title of deposit leader through June 30 with a 6.07 percent growth rate, according to the FDIC’s Growth Rate Report. Trustmark, by contrast, had a 0.78 percent drop in deposits from the previous year but still finished second.

Tupelo banks BancorpSouth and Renasant, Gulfport’s Hancock-Whitney Bank and Ridgeland BankPlus round out the top six for deposits. The $13.6 billion BancorpSouth ended fiscal 2015 with a 10.68 percent share; the $5.9 billion Renasant with a 5.81 percent share; the $21.4 billion Hancock-Whitney with a 5.75 percent share; and the $2.5 billion BankPlus with a 4.13 percent share.

Regions had a 14.17 percent deposit share with total deposits of slightly more than $7 billion at its 139 locations at the close of the June 30 reporting period. Trustmark followed closely with a 13.85 percent share with deposits of $6.86 billion from its 129 locations.

There’s no magic bullet for growing and keeping deposits, said Arthur DuCote, Regions’ state president for Mississippi. “It is simply a matter of day-in-and-day-out of helping our customers reach their financial goals,” DuCote said. “It is not just a slogan. We train around it.”

The task at Regions’ 1,800 branches nationwide is to talk to customers — not to sell them anything but to discuss with them what their financial goals are, he added.

“We’re doing a good job of carrying out the basics.”

Trustmark led the state in fiscal 2014 with a 14.44 percent share of deposits totaling $6.9 billion. Regions stayed close with a 13.82 percent share totaling $6.2 billion.

Trustmark’s continued status as a deposit leader comes despite its market footprint confined largely to central and south Mississippi.

Like most banks, Trustmark derives its deposits from longstanding account holders and more temporary customers that make up the “hot money.” These are accounts that stay in place two years or less, said Art Stevens, Trustmark’s president of retail banking.

Some of the hot money comes from large depositors such as local governments, hospitals and school districts and high-dollar certificates of deposit. “It is always in play,” Stevens.

That was the case earlier this year when the city of Jackson transferred $76.5 million from Trustmark to BancorpSouth. “That was a factor in our year-over-year” total, Stevens said.

Trustmark figures to regain that share of Jackson city government deposits at some point. “We all get a chance to get them back later on,” he said, and explained the attractiveness of a bank’s bid for large public sector deposits hinges on the bank’s need for funds at a particular time.

With Regions and Trustmark rountinely running neck-and-neck in Mississippi’s deposit sweepstakes, movement of hot money customarily accounts for the lead changes, he said.

Regions’ DuCote said his bank feels fortunate to have 92 percent of its deposits coming from the checking accounts of households or businesses. “They represent the comings and goings on our customers’ daily lives,” he said.

Meanwhile, Renasant outpaced much larger BancorpSouth in Lee County, home to Tupelo and the headquarters of both banks. Renasant took 41 percent of the deposit share for the county while BancorpSouth accounted for 37 percent.

“At the end of 2013, we acquired First M&F (parent of Kosciusko’s Merchants and Farmers Bank). We got a nice little addition to our market share,” said John Oxford, Renasant communications director.

“We were pretty even before that,” he added.

Renasant ended the June 30, 2014-June 30, 2015 period with Mississippi deposit growth of 3.5 percent. Tupelo counterpart BancorpSouth closed the same period with 6.58 percent deposit growth in the state.

The state’s sixth-place deposit leader, BankPlus, finished the period with Mississippi deposit growth of 7 percent.

Hancock-Whitney showed similar growth, 7.7 percent, in taking fifth place among Mississippi’s deposit leaders, even though it has maintained a years’ long market strategy of hugging the Mississippi coastline as well as gulf coast markets from Florida to Texas. “It is not that we have a lack of interest northward,” said Hancock-White President and CEO John Hairston. “It’s just that the economies of the markets along the gulf are quite intertwined.”

Hancock-Whitney and its Mississippi gulf market have had a 10-year period unlike any other time period, Hairston said. “Katrina created a massive need for money” that arrived with insurance settlements and government recovery funds.

“Then you had the real fright caused by the real estate crash. The stock market reacted negatively and a lot of people put their money into banks’ money market accounts,” he added.

“Then you had the BP oil spill. That brought billions of dollars into the market. A lot of that money got spent.”

It all made for an unprecedented 10 years, he said. “Prior to that I think the markets around the Gulf South behaved normally,” Hairston said.

And if the markets behave normally for the rest of 2015 and the first half of 2016, either Regions or Trustmark will be Mississippi’s deposit leader.

“We trade back and forth with a very fine competitor,” Regions’ DuCote said.

About Ted Carter

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