When MidSouth Bank announced at the end of April it was merging into Hancock Whitney in a stock-for-stock transaction, few in Baton Rouge’s banking community were surprised.
The deal, expected to close late in the third quarter, is effectively an acquisition of the smaller, Lafayette-based MidSouth by the larger Hancock Whitney, which will walk out with an additional $1.7 billion in assets, $900 million in loans, and $1.4 billion in deposits. By fetching MidSouth’s 42 branches between Louisiana and Texas, the move also allows Hancock Whitney to increase its footprint.
At a broader glance, the deal marks the latest in a flurry of mergers and acquisitions in Baton Rouge over the past few decades, and the second so far this year. While two major national banks—Chase and Capital One—collectively hold more than 50% of the local market share, both are shifting their power and resources out of tertiary markets like Baton Rouge and into bigger urban hubs. That, in turn, has given the Hancock Whitneys and other midsized, regionally focused banks the opportunity to expand.
The deal is part of a larger, nationally-triggered consolidation wave the Baton Rouge market has been riding for more than 30 years. Some consider it a cyclical phase, with banks merging together and then splintering into smaller, independent banks every few decades. But the past 10 years have differed in several aspects; namely, which factors have perpetuated the trend toward consolidation.