The First opening loan office in Baton Rouge

HATTIESBURG — The First Bancshares Inc., holding company for The First, A National Banking Association, is opening of a new loan production office in Baton Rouge, La.

M. Ray “Hoppy” Cole, president and CEO of First Bancshares and The First, said, “We are excited to gain a larger presence in Louisiana with the entry into Baton Rouge and the addition of our new team members. Our new office will be led by local bankers with over 10 years of in-market experience who can offer our full array of commercial banking loan products and services.

“This is a great opportunity for our bank to enter a fast growing market with a commercial banking team that we are familiar with. We believe that by committing significant resources to the Baton Rouge expansion during 2014, we can substantially increase shareholder value by the end of 2015 and beyond. Expanding into Baton Rouge is a natural fit within our strategy of developing a franchise in south Mississippi, south Alabama and Louisiana.”

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