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Hancock Whitney establishes new presence in Metro Jackson


Today, Hancock Whitney announced plans to expand into metropolitan Jackson by hiring a well-known, experienced team of local commercial bankers. Hancock Whitney will open a loan production office which the bank plans in the future to transition into a financial center focused on serving business and commercial clients throughout the region.

Gulfport based Hancock Whitney, the largest bank headquartered in Mississippi, has had a trust office in Jackson for many years.

Expanding Hancock Whitney’s presence in greater Jackson has been a long-term goal. We’re very pleased it’s now a reality,” said Hancock Whitney President and CEO John M. Hairston. “We’ve recruited a team of top local commercial bankers to serve some of the region’s leading companies. Those seasoned financial professionals will help us introduce more of our metro Jackson neighbors to the strength, integrity, and service that have set Hancock Whitney apart for 120-plus years.”

Veteran Jackson banker Leigh Pace will serve as Hancock Whitney Jackson Market President. He will oversee day-to-day activities and lead the Hancock Whitney Jackson team from the loan production office on Highland Colony Parkway. An expanded 6,000-square-foot financial location in the same building is currently under renovation, with plans for completion this summer.

A local bank executive for more than 28 years, Pace knows the Jackson business, community, and financial services arenas well. In 2016 the Mississippi Business Journal recognized him as a Leader in Finance. Pace serves with many area organizations, including former board member of the Madison County Habitat for Humanity, past president of the Canton Rotary Club, as well as Canton Academic Foundation, Inc., and Leadership Madison County. He earned a Bachelor of Business Administration degree from Mississippi State University.

Hancock Whitney is an institution with deep Mississippi roots, solid core values, nationally recognized strength and stability, and proven commitment to the hometowns we serve,” said Pace. “As we expand in Jackson, I believe people and businesses here will welcome the client-centered way in which we help make dreams real with expertise and warm 5-star service.”

Hancock Whitney first opened in Bay St. Louis, Mississippi, in 1899, with founding core values that have stayed fundamental to the bank’s business philosophy, central to its long history of helping communities during disasters, and paramount to its growth in Mississippi and the Gulf South.

Like our founders, we believe in building a business that never knows completion—a trusted financial partner that continues to grow and be even better for and because of the people and communities we serve,” said Hancock Whitney Mississippi President Emory Mayfield. “We’ve helped Mississippians succeed and people, businesses, and communities come back from crises for more than a century. Now, we’re here to serve more Jackson area clients according to those timeless tenets at the heart of who we are as an organization.”

In addition to Pace, the Hancock Whitney Jackson banking team comprises bankers with more than 70 years of collective industry experience.


Melissa Peters joins Hancock Whitney as a senior vice president and commercial banker, with more than 16 years of experience in helping Jackson area businesses grow. Peter’s portfolio includes extensive expertise in asset-based lending, equipment financing, commercial real estate, and commercial construction. She holds a Bachelor of Business Administration degree from Mississippi State University and graduated from the Mississippi School of Banking. Recognized as one of Mississippi Business Journal’s Fifty Leading Business Women, Peters serves with many area community and non-profit organizations.



Justin Gauthier brings 15 years of experience to his role as a Hancock Whitney vice president and business banker and has called metro Jackson home for more than 25 years. As part of the Hancock Whitney Jackson team, Gauthier will provide clients expertise in small business lending, commercial lending, and private banking. He holds a Bachelor of Business Administration degree from Mississippi State University and graduated from the Mississippi School of Banking.



Adam R. Cox joins Hancock Whitney as a senior vice president and commercial relationship banker with 11 years of metro Jackson banking experience. Cox specializes in commercial real estate lending, relationship management, and business development. He holds a Bachelor of Arts in business from Mississippi State University and is a graduate of the Graduate School of Banking at Louisiana State University and the Mississippi School of Banking. Cox is also an active member in community and industry organizations, including the Mississippi Young Bankers.


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