GULFPORT, Miss., Feb. 20, 2013 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- Hancock Bank and Whitney Bank have received a combined eight national and regional Greenwich Excellence Awards in Small Business and Middle Market Banking for 2012. The two Gulf South financial institutions were among the top six percent of eligible organizations to earn the coveted Greenwich Associates recognition, which is based on interviews with thousands of leading executives across the country. "Small and middle market businesses are important to our success. We are very honored that these two key client segments rate us as among the best," said Executive Vice President and Chief Commercial Banking Officer Edward G. Francis. "Providing customers and the business community with outstanding service is a top priority, and this recognition from Greenwich Associates is a testament to our bankers who are committed to excellence in everything they do." Among the many honors, both Hancock and Whitney were recognized in the Regional Small Business category for Overall Satisfaction. "Hancock and Whitney have enduring traditions of service excellence, strong client relationships, and a commitment to finding unique solutions for every business," Francis said. "We're very pleased that both banks received the regional Small Business Banking Greenwich Excellence Award for overall satisfaction because it reflects many of the qualities that make us who we are as a strong Gulf South banking leader." Sponsored by Greenwich Associates—a leading international research-based consulting firm in institutional financial services—the Greenwich Excellence Awards are based on an institution achieving a statistically significant margin in a single category greater than the mean for all banks at a 95 percent confidence level. The awards reflect ratings garnered from interviews with more than 25,000 business executives at companies with revenues between $1 million and $500 million, with more than 750 eligible banks. Only 39 banks were recognized for distinctive quality in middle market banking, and 42 were honored for small business banking.