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Shareholders of Renasant Bank of Tupelo OK purchase of Georgia-based HeritageBank of the South

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TUPELO, Mississippi — Shareholders of Renasant Bank of Tupelo have approved the purchase of HeritageBank of the South — based in Albany, Georgia — in an all-stock deal.

Shareholder approval came Tuesday. Regulatory agencies approval came in March.

The merger will move Renasant into southern Georgia and northern Florida for the first time and slightly bolster the bank's position in the Atlanta and Birmingham, Alabama, markets.

Renasant announced the merger agreement in December.

The merger is expected to be completed July 1, and it would be Renasant's largest acquisition in its 111-year history.

Heritage brings about $1.9 billion in assets, bringing Renasant's total to $7.5 billion. It has offices in Mississippi, Alabama, Tennessee, Georgia and Florida.

The merger also adds about 600 employees at 36 banking locations, 21 mortgage offices and five investment offices.

It's a combination of two banks that have been gobbling up other institutions.

Since 2010, Renasant has acquired two banks that had been seized by the Federal Deposit Insurance Corp., as well as the trust business of RBC USA. Then, last year, it took over Mississippi's First M&F Corp. in a $143 million stock deal.

Heritage, founded in 1955 took over four Georgia banks that had been seized by the FDIC from 2011 through 2013. It also took over Alarion Financial Services of Ocala, Florida, earlier this year and has bought individual branches.

Renasant projects that it can cut 20 percent of Heritage's costs, mostly in 2015. Renasant says it will incur $30 million in expenses in the combination.

Heritage stockholders would own about 20 percent of the combined bank and Renasant would add one Heritage director to its board. Heritage CEO O. Leonard Dorminey would become president of Renasant's Georgia operations.


Information from: Northeast Mississippi Daily Journal, http://djournal.com

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