The acquisition of Louisiana banking giant Whitney Bank by Hancock Holding Corp. of Mississippi has prompted a new nickname for Lafayette-based Iberiabank: ‘Big dog on the block.’

Associated Press business writer Alan Sayre writes in a column published Monday that the new Whitney-Hancock combo will mean the exodus of the last of the “classic” Louisiana-based banks, making room for IberiaBank to take the top spot.

Sayre points out that the Whitney-Hancock union also outlines a potential future trend of community banks having a larger presence in the industry, which could mean more mergers to increase their pull in lending:  
After Whitney loses its separate identity, the big dog on the block in Louisiana appears to be Lafayette-based Iberiabank, which has a smaller, but feisty rival in its back yard, MidSouth Bancorp.

More combinations in the South are inevitable, banking analyst Michael Rose of Raymond James said recently, with Hancock-Whitney likely pointing the way to a new era of mergers and acquisitions following big loan problems in the region and new federal capital requirements.
Sayre noted that IberiaBank has acquired four failed banks since the banking meltdown, three in Florida and one in Alabama with the backing of the Federal Deposit Insurance Corp., which committed to sharing any loan losses. Read more about the Lafayette-based bank in this Independent Weekly November 2009 cover story.

Read Sayre's full column here.

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