Hancock Holding Co. reports increase in borrowing in third quarter


Hancock Holding Co. released third-quarter earnings Thursday after the stock market closed, and president and CEO John Hairston said in a conference call, "Overall, it was another good quarter for the company."

The parent company of Hancock Bank reported increased earnings, loans and deposits and noted operating expense was up less than 1 percent from the second quarter of the year.

Net income for the third quarter of 2015 was $41.2 million compared with $46.6 million in the third quarter of 2014. The decline was attributed primarily to a $13 million pretax decrease in purchase accounting income.

Hairston said earnings were up $6.3 million, or 18 percent, and earnings per share for stockholders increased 18 percent to 52 cents.

The numbers showed the local economies may be getting a little stronger, with the exception of energy-related business, he said. Hancock added $5 million more for the energy reserve in the quarter to cover any credit losses from low oil prices.

"Overall, loans continue to grow really nicely," he said. The bank tracks loans to consumers, small business and commercial, and he said loan production is really solid in all those areas. He is encouraged consumers are borrowing again for cars, home mortgages and new construction -- "it's really across the board," he said.

Mike Achary, Hancock chief financial officer, said the $418 million in loan growth, or 12 percent annualized, was about one-third consumer loans and two-thirds for business and commercial purposes.

Hancock Bank has more than 1,000 employees on the Mississippi Coast and Hairston said the company added 49 jobs during the quarter, primarily bankers.

Hancock reported earlier this month it is establishing its first presence in Tennessee, buying $190 million in health-care loans from United Community Banks and setting up a new loan office and four experienced health-care bankers in Nashville. The city is the center of health-care lending in the Southeast, he said, where New Orleans, Houston and other areas served by Hancock Holding are spending billions in the medical industry.