Changes not imminent in BancTrust merger

Published 1:21 pm Tuesday, June 5, 2012

Changes, the result of a merger between Mobile-based BancTrust and Mississippi-based Trustmark, will not be immediate and may not be obvious according to leaders of both institutions.

Trustmark President and CEO Jerry Host told the Selma Times-Journal that the combined entity didn’t plan any changes on the outset of it’s merger, which is expected to close later this year, but couldn’t rule them out as the relationship develops.

“First thing, the bank isn’t changing for at least three months; not the name, not the processes, not the products. Nothing changes,” Host said. “I’m not going to sit here and say that there won’t be some consolidations as this takes place and that there won’t be some position elimination. The other side is this though, if we can grow the market, we are going to need to add people. And, it’s the type of people that if we grow branches, we are going to need people in those branches, if we want to grow lending officers, we are going to do that; if we want to have insurance people here, we offer insurance, those people will need to be added.”

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Host and BancTrust President and CEO Bibb Lamar recently toured BankTrust branches to meet with employees. Last week, Trustmark and BancTrust, announced a merger with an estimated value of $55.4 million. As the final parts of that merger receive final approval from shareholders and regulators, the two bank leaders stressed their focus is ensuring a smooth transition for the customers and employees.

“We’re here to show that people in Mississippi do wear shoes and those from Trustmark do not have horns coming out their head,” Host said laughing. “When you come into a market — particularly in a market like this one, where you have a bank that is so dominant — you have people that are going to say ‘these are outsiders who don’t know anything about this area.”

“They’re right,” Host said. “We don’t know anything about this market. That’s why we are going to rely so much on the people that are here.”

According to data provided by the two entities, Demopolis’ two BankTrust branches place the institution second in the county as it relates to marketshare with 20.3 percent.