HOUSTON, Sept. 6, 2012 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- One of the country's most experienced international bankers has joined the Hancock Holding Company (Nasdaq:HBHC) financial services organization, which includes century-old Gulf South institutions Whitney Bank and Hancock Bank. A photo accompanying this release is available at http://www.globenewswire.com/newsroom/prs/?pkgid=14538 The manager of the company's new export finance group, vice president Deborah Conrad has more than 35 years of experience in the international banking sector—much of that with Export Import Bank of the United States (Ex-Im). She will lead Whitney and Hancock in providing key expertise and financial guidance for businesses looking to access federal export finance assistance efficiently and increase global sales. Hancock Holding Company and its banks operate throughout a combined business footprint comprising the five southeastern states that encircle the Gulf of Mexico. Based in Houston, Conrad will serve clients throughout the Gulf Coast region, as well as their international business partners, and help position Hancock Holding Company as the region's leader in export business banking. "As technology advances, businesses are competing in an economy that is more global than ever before," said Carl Chaney, president and CEO of Hancock Holding Company. "Export finance is becoming more important to businesses and industries in the Gulf Coast region every day. Hancock Holding Company and its banks are committed to providing the specialized services and products clients need to succeed in today's global marketplace." Conrad's career comprises 17 years with Ex-Im in Washington, D.C. She joined Whitney and Hancock from U.S. Bank in Los Angeles, where she served as vice president and manager of the bank's Ex-Im Working Capital Guarantee Program. She also worked with BB&T and the U.S. Small Business Administration in Baltimore and Bank of America in Phoenix and Boston. Conrad is a recipient of the BB&T Sterling Award for Performance and SBA & Ex-Im Bank Outstanding Performance Awards.
"Her recognized range of specialized experience will further strengthen our capabilities as the leading Gulf Coast provider of trade and export finance products," said Luis Garza, senior vice president and director of international banking. "The Whitney Bank and Hancock Bank Export Finance Group will allow us to deliver a better, more tailored product to our client base and improve efficiency in a sector where timing can be critical to a transaction's success."Whitney and Hancock clients now have enhanced access to four core services supporting their export efforts: 1) export credit insurance that allows otherwise ineligible foreign accounts receivable to be used for borrowing proposes; 2) working capital financing for the export of U.S. goods and services; 3) a foreign buyer program that helps American exporters close sales with foreign buyers who need financing; and 4) a letter of credit program insuring letters of credit issued by foreign banks. "These programs help transform long-shot sales opportunities into closed deals for our clients," Garza added. "Ex-Im Bank is a time-proven U.S. resource that consistently enhances the revenue and growth of American exporters." Hancock Holding Company is the parent of Whitney Bank in Louisiana and Texas and Hancock Bank in Mississippi, Alabama, and Florida. The company operates more than 250 full-service bank branches and more than 350 ATMs across the Gulf South spanning metropolitan Houston, Texas; south Louisiana; southern Mississippi; southern Alabama; and the Panhandle, northern, and central regions of Florida. More information about Whitney Bank and Hancock Bank is available at www.whitneybank.com and www.hancockbank.com . The Hancock Holding Company logo is available at http://www.globenewswire.com/newsroom/prs/?pkgid=2758 The photo is also available at Newscom, www.newscom.com , and via AP PhotoExpress.
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