The First announces acquisition of south Alabama bank

HATTIESBURG, MS (WDAM) - The First Bancshares Corporation announced Thursday they entered into an agreement to acquire The First National Bank of Baldwin County in south Alabama.

The acquisition will expand the first across the gulf coast with five new branches. This will bring the total number of branches to 23 across Louisiana, Mississippi, and south Alabama.

Once the sale goes through The First will grow to approximately 908-million in assets and 780-million in deposits.

President and CEO Ray "Hoppy" Cole Jr. says the acquisition makes sense for them because their culture closely matches that of The First.

"They have an extremely good customer loyalty. They have an extremely good credit culture that meets the needs of the local community and those are the things we really look at before we get to the financials. You have to meet those levels before we really get interested in you," said Cole. That's part of furthering our mission. We're a community based organization. As you know our founders are right here in the Hattiesburg, Laurel area and one of their principles is safe, sound, profitable growth."

Through that growth The First has been able to maintain 52 consecutive quarters of profitability.

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