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The First bank announces merger with Iberville and Gulf Coast Community banks

HATTIESBURG, Miss. - This is a press release from The First bank.

The First, a National Banking Association, has announced a merger with Iberville Bank in Baton Rouge, Louisiana and Gulf Coast Community Bank in Pensacola, Florida. M. Ray “Hoppy” Cole, President and Chief Executive Officer of The First, said, “We are bringing together three community banks sharing in a common purpose, to deliver extraordinary personal service to our customers.”

The combination of all three banks will allow us to serve customers with 48 convenient locations in Mississippi, Louisiana, Alabama and Florida. The combined company will have approximately $ 1.6 billion in total assets, $1.4 billion in total deposits, and $1.1 billion in total loans.

In Cole’s words, “We are thrilled to join forces with these institutions as we share a common set of core values and Iberville and Gulf Coast Community Banks have distinguished themselves by being totally focused on serving their clients and communities, delivering exemplary service and being good corporate citizens. Their cultures align perfectly with ours, focusing on safe, sound, profitable growth.”

Klein W. Kirby, President of A. Wilbert’s Sons, said, “Iberville Bank has been a part of A. Wilbert’s Sons since 1931. We are proud of our 85 year bank history and are very pleased that Iberville Bank will continue to be operated as a community bank under the leadership of The First. Iberville Bank’s customers should see a seamless transaction and the same local leadership after the transaction is closed. The First is an outstanding banking organization and we look forward to an even better Iberville Bank going forward.”

Buzz Ritchie, President and Chief Executive Officer of GCCB, said, "We are pleased to have the opportunity to join The First. We are convinced that they are fully committed to the values of community banking with an emphasis placed upon long term relationships. This is a strategic move for us as we will strengthen and expand our core products and services and will better serve existing and future customers. We believe this merger also provides strong value for our shareholders who have been committed and loyal to us over the years."

The merger of these institutions is a continuation of The First’s strategic plan to create a regional community bank in the Gulf South. The resulting company will offer additional products, services, locations and capacity which will allow The First to better serve existing clients and provide opportunities for growth.

The First has achieved 68 consecutive quarters of profitability and earned a 5 Star Rating (the highest given) by BauerFinancial, “the nation’s bank rating service.”



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