The First Bancshares, Inc. (Nasdaq: FBMS), announced today that its subsidiary, The First, A National Banking Association (“The First”) has acquired eight Whitney branches, seven on the MS Gulf Coast and one in Bogalusa, LA. As a result of the acquisition, The First has eleven locations on the coast from Pascagoula to Bay St. Louis and has expanded into neighboring Louisiana.
President and Chief Executive Officer Hoppy Cole commented, “We are thrilled to welcome our new team members and the former Whitney customers to our bank. The acquisition today will more than double our presence on the MS Gulf Coast and open new markets to us in Louisiana.” Cole, a native of the coast, says, “The First began fifteen years ago when a few friends envisioned a bank with a strong sense of community, one focused on its customers, and this acquisition is a large part of that dream come true.”
The First will now have a total of eighteen locations from the Pine Belt to the Gulf Coast in Hattiesburg, Laurel, Purvis, Pascagoula, Bay St. Louis, Picayune, Gulfport, Biloxi, Diamondhead, Long Beach, Wiggins, and Bogalusa, LA.
With over $700 – Million – Dollars in assets and over $600 – Million – Dollars in deposits, The First now ranks 11 th in deposits and 13 th in assets among Mississippi banks.Even in the midst of the most turbulent economic times, The First has achieved 47 consecutive quarters of profitability and again earned a 5 Star Rating (the highest given) by BauerFinancial, “the nation’s bank rating service.” In Cole’s words, “This is an exciting day for The First as we continue to build relationships one customer at a time.” Advisors Chaffe & Associates, Inc., with Jonathan W. Briggs as lead investment banker, acted as financial advisor to The First, and Dover Dixon Horne PLLC, with lead attorney Garland W. Binns Jr., Esq., acted as its legal advisor.