HATTIESBURG, MS - From the Pine Belt to the Gulf Shores and now to the Sunshine State.
The First Bancshares, Inc. is expanding and adding 15 new branches. The company has acquired Gulf Coast Community Bank in Pensacola, Florida, and Iberville Bank, based in Plaquemine, Louisiana. The merger opens a new market for the company in Florida, adding five locations there, and increases its presence in Central Louisiana, with 10 new locations around Baton Rouge.
The First Bancshares President and CEO Hoppy Cole said they now serve over 40 thousand clients, with a strategy to build a regional community bank across the Gulf South.
"We're beginning to get large enough to offer a complete slate of products that is very competitive and comparative to the larger banks with the associated pricing, but with a lot better service level. We're still small enough where the client can pick up the phone and call the president and get an answer, " Cole said.
The community bank opened its first branch in Hattiesburg in 1996.
The First will now serve clients in Mississippi, Louisiana, Alabama and Florida with 48 locations and will grow to $1.6 billion in total assets and $1.3 billion in total deposits.