Whitney loses $88 million in fourth quarter

New Orleans-based Whitney Holding Corp., which is in the midst of a merger with Hancock Holding Co. of Mississippi, reported a net loss of $88.5 million for the fourth quarter of 2010, compared to a net loss of $29 million in the third quarter and net income of $300,000 in the fourth quarter of 2009. Including the $4.1 million dividend paid each quarter to the U.S. Treasury on the preferred stock issued under TARP, the loss per diluted common share was 96 cents for the fourth quarter of 2010, 34 cents for the third quarter of 2010 and 4 cents for the fourth quarter of 2009.


“The results for the fourth quarter were in line with our previously announced problem credit resolution strategy,” said John C. Hope III, chairman and CEO. “Operating results outside of credit also were in line with expectations. I continue to believe we are in a position to return to full-year profitability beginning in the first quarter of 2011, excluding any merger-related items. I also expect the company to contribute meaningfully to the long-term success of the Hancock/Whitney combination.”

On Dec. 21, Whitney agreed to be purchased by Gulfport-based Hancock in $1.5 billion deal expected to close in the second quarter of this year. — Walter Pierce


Home, Regions, Teche increase earnings

Two Acadiana banks, Home and Teche, along with Alabama-based Regions, reported increased earnings for the most recent quarter.

Home Bank’s parent company, Home Bancorp, earned $1.5 million in the fourth quarter of 2010, a 61 percent increase over the $555,400 it earned in the third quarter and an increase of $1.4 million, or 6.67 percent, compared to the fourth quarter of 2009. Net income for the year was $4.7 million, an increase of $9,000, or 0.2 percent, compared to 2009. Earnings per share were 20 cents for the fourth quarter of 2010, an increase of 67 percent compared to the third quarter of 2010. Earnings per share were 62 cents for the year, an increase of 7 percent over 2009.

John W. Bordelon, president and CEO, said highlights from the year included the bank’s Northshore acquisition, the opening of its third Baton Rouge location and continued loan and deposit growth across each of its markets.
Teche Federal Bank’s parent, Teche Holding Company, earned $1.8 million or 87 cents per diluted share, in the quarter ended Dec. 31, which represents the first quarter of its fiscal 2011. That compares with $1.7 million or 82 cents per diluted share for the same quarter in fiscal 2010, an increase of 5 cents per share, or 6.1 percent.

Teche President and CEO Patrick Little said two years ago Teche declined Troubled Asset Relief Program money in part because the bank saw a very challenging regulatory and economic environment in the coming years. “We did not want to be in a position to be over-capitalized and thus desperate to grow and expand in the midst of higher unemployment and a slower economy,” Little explains. “We think we made the right decision.”
Also, Regions Financial Corp., which has been working to overcome losses on real estate loans, has returned to profitability. In the fourth quarter of 2010, the Birmingham-based bank earned $36 million, or 3 cents per share, compared to a loss of 17 cents per share for the third quarter and a 2009 fourth quarter loss of $606 million, or 51 cents a share. Full year results reflect a net loss of 62 cents per share, compared with a net loss of $1.27 per share in 2009.

In other banking news:
• IberiaBank Corp. reported fourth quarter net income of $13 million, or 48 cents per share — down 89 percent compared to the same quarter in 2010 when the company reported an $181 million gain on acquisitions. Thomson Financial analysts expected the bank to post earnings of 55 cents per share in the fourth quarter.
• MidSouth Bancorp Inc. reported net income of $1.6 million for the fourth quarter of 2010, an increase of 74.8 percent compared to the $890,000 it earned for the fourth quarter of 2009. — WP

IberiaBank dubbed ‘big dog on the block’

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

Associated Press business writer Alan Sayre wrote Jan. 31 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.”

After Sayre gave IberiaBank its new nickname, it came to light just how big this dog almost got. It is now common knowledge that Iberia lost a December bidding battle with Hancock in the Whitney

With the backing of the Federal Deposit Insurance Corp., which agreed to share in any loan losses, IberiaBank has acquired four failed banks since the financial meltdown, three in Florida and one in Alabama. — WP

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