Jackson County Times

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Monday, December 28, 2009

Feds Seize Peoples First Bank

Operations will be assumed by another bank

By Sid Riley

On Friday evening authorities from the Federal Reserve seized Peoples First Community Bank and the bank officially became the property of Hancock Bank of Gulfport, Mississippi. This marked the end of twenty five years of operations by the locally owned bank.

The failure of this bank will cost the FDIC approximately $556.7. People’s First had $1.8 billion in assets at the time of the seizure. This brings the total banking failures during 2009 to 140, with more expected in 2010. The FDIC is currently $8.2 billion in the red, but the organization has reported reserves of $39 billion dollars. They have increased the insurance rates which banks pay the FDIC in order to create a positive cash flow.

When the Peoples First Bank employees in the area opened on Saturday morning, they still had the Peoples First signs at their locations, but they were actually Hancock Bank employees at that point. Signs were changed at most locations on Monday. The sign at the Peoples First location in Marianna was changed Monday morning.

Peoples customers will be unaffected by this change in ownership. Hancock will honor existing agreements, will assume all existing loans, and checking transactions will proceed using existing Peoples First checks for the time being. Funds on deposit can be accessed with no problems.

Hancock Bank is headquartered in Gulfport, Mississippi, and has a strong presence in Mississippi, Alabama, and Louisiana. Prior to this acquisition they had seven locations in Florida, including Tallahassee and Pensacola. With the addition of the Peoples First operations, they now have a strong presence with 29 additional locations throughout the panhandle and Gulf Coast area. This includes the “savings only” thrift branches.

So, with sadness we say farewell to Peoples First Community Bank in Jackson County, and we welcome Hancock Bank to our communities. We wish them great success.

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