Hancock Reports First Quarter 2014 Financial Results

Hancock Reports First Quarter 2014 Financial Results

Company Achieves Expense Goals Three Quarters Ahead of Schedule

GULFPORT, Miss., April 16, 2014 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- Hancock Holding Company
(Nasdaq:HBHC) today announced its financial results for the first quarter of
2014. Operating income for the first quarter of 2014 was $49.1 million or $.58
per diluted common share, compared to $45.8 million, and $.55 in the fourth
quarter of 2013. Operating income was $48.6 million, or $.56, in the first
quarter of 2013. We define our operating income as net income excluding
tax-effected securities transactions gains or losses and one-time noninterest
expense items. Management believes that operating income provides a useful
measure of financial performance that helps investors compare the company's
fundamental operations over time. The financial tables include a
reconciliation of net income to operating income.

There were no adjustments between operating income and net income for the
first quarters of 2013 and 2014.In the fourth quarter of 2013, net income
reflected the impact of certain one-time noninterest expenses of $17.1
million.Net income for the fourth quarter of 2013 was $34.7 million, or $.41
per diluted common share, with a ROA of 0.74%.

Highlights of the Company's first quarter of 2014 results:

  *Continued improvement in the overall quality of earnings (replacing
    declining purchase accounting income with core results)
  *Operating expenses declined $10.1 million linked-quarter, or 6%, exceeding
    the first quarter's expense goal and achieving the targeted fourth quarter
    goal ahead of schedule
  *Efficiency ratio improved to 62%; additional branch closures and the
    previously announced divestiture of selected insurance lines of business
    will fund revenue-generating projects that will contribute to achieving
    the efficiency ratio target for 2016 of 57%-59%
  *Core net interest income (TE) was flat linked-quarter; core net interest
    margin (NIM) narrowed 3 basis points (bps) (we define our core results as
    reported results less the impact of net purchase accounting adjustments)
  *Approximately $231 million linked-quarter net loan growth, or 8%
    annualized, and approximately $1.2 billion, or 11%, year-over-year loan
    growth (each excluding the FDIC-covered portfolio)
  *Purchase accounting loan accretion declined $.6 million; expect
    continuation of quarterly declines with accelerating declines in the
    second half of 2014
  *Continued improvement in overall asset quality metrics
  *Return on average assets (ROA) (operating) improved to 1.05% from 0.97% in
    the fourth quarter of 2013 and 1.03% in the first quarter a year ago

"A lot of hard work and focus has allowed us to meet our fourth quarter of
2014 expense target three quarters ahead of schedule, and I would like to
thank all of our associates for achieving thisaggressive goal," said
Hancock's President and Chief Executive Officer Carl J. Chaney."But we are
not done.As we continue our work to improve the quality of our earnings
(replacing declining purchase accounting income with core income), we expect
operating EPS to remain flat in the near term.Over the next couple of
quarters you may see expenses rise slightly as we reinvest in higher-return,
revenue-generating lines of business to help achieve our efficiency ratio
targets, however we remain committed to keeping expenses for the fourth
quarter of 2014 in line with our stated goal."

Loans

Total loans at March 31, 2014 were $12.5 billion, up $203 million from
December 31, 2013.Excluding the FDIC-covered portfolio, which declined $28
million during the first quarter of 2014, total loans increased approximately
$231 million, or 2% linked-quarter.

The largest component of linked-quarter net growth (excluding the FDIC-covered
portfolio) was in the commercial and industrial (C&I) portfolio, with
additional growth in the construction, commercial real estate (CRE) and
residential mortgage portfolios. Many of the markets across the company's
footprint reported net period-end loan growth during the quarter, with the
majority of the growth in the Houston, southwest Louisiana, Mississippi, and
central Florida regions. For the full year of 2014 management expects
period-end loan growth in the upper single digit range.

Average loans totaled $12.4 billion for the first quarter of 2014, up $476
million, or 4%, from the fourth quarter of 2013.A substantial portion of the
fourth quarter's net loan growth came toward the latter part of the period,
impacting the average for the first quarter.

Deposits

Total deposits at March 31, 2014 were $15.3 billion, down $86 million, or less
than 1%, from December 31, 2013.Average deposits for the first quarter of
2014 were $15.3 billion, up $353 million, or 2%, from the fourth quarter of
2013.

Noninterest-bearing demand deposits (DDAs) totaled $5.6 billion at March 31,
2014, up $84 million, or 2%, compared to December 31, 2013.DDAs comprised 37%
of total period-end deposits at March 31, 2014.

Interest-bearing transaction and savings deposits totaled $6.1 billion at the
end of the first quarter, down $45 million, or 1%, from December 31, 2013.

Time deposits (CDs) and interest-bearing public fund deposits totaled $3.5
billion at March 31, 2014, down $125 million, or 3%, from December 31,
2013.Almost all of the decline was in the public fund deposit category, and
reflects the seasonality of those deposits.Typically public fund balances
increase toward year end with subsequent reductions beginning in the first
quarter.

Asset Quality

Non-performing assets (NPAs) totaled $180 million at March 31, 2014, down $6
million from December 31, 2013.During the first quarter, total non-performing
loans remained virtually unchanged while foreclosed and surplus real estate
(ORE) and other foreclosed assets decreased $7 million.Non-performing assets
as a percent of total loans, ORE and other foreclosed assets was 1.43% at
March 31, 2014, down from 1.50% at December 31, 2013.

The total allowance for loan losses was $128.2 million at March 31, 2014, down
from $133.6 million at December 31, 2013. The ratio of the allowance to
period-end loans was 1.02%, compared to 1.08% at year-end 2013.The decline in
the allowance during the first quarter was primarily related to a $9.7 million
reduction in the allowance on covered loans, of which $7.2 million was a
reversal of previous impairment.The allowance maintained on the non-covered
portion of the loan portfolio increased $4.3 million linked-quarter, totaling
$84.8 million at March 31, 2014.

Net charge-offs from the non-covered loan portfolio were $4.0 million, or
0.13% of average total loans on an annualized basis in the first quarter of
2014, down from $5.2 million, or 0.17% of average total loans in the fourth
quarter of 2013.

During the first quarter of 2014, Hancock recorded a total provision for loan
losses of $8.0 million, up from $7.3 million in the fourth quarter of
2013.The provision for non-covered loans was $8.3 million in the first
quarter of 2014, up slightly from $7.9 million in the fourth quarter of
2013.The net provision from the covered portfolio was a credit of $0.3
million for the first quarter of 2014 compared to a credit of $0.5 million in
the fourth quarter of 2013.

Net Interest Income and Net Interest Margin

Net interest income (TE) for the first quarter of 2014 was $168.2 million,
virtually unchanged from the fourth quarter of 2013.Average earning assets
were $16.7 billion, up approximately $364 million from the fourth quarter of
2013.

The reported net interest margin (TE) was 4.06% for the first quarter of 2014,
down 3 basis points (bps) from the fourth quarter of 2013.The core net
interest margin (reported net interest income (TE) excluding total net
purchase accounting adjustments, annualized, as a percent of average earning
assets) declined 3 bps to 3.37% during the first quarter of 2014.A decline in
the core loan yield (-7 bps) was partly offset by an improved earning asset
mix and higher yields on investment securities (+4 bps).

Noninterest Income

Noninterest income, including securities transactions, totaled $56.7 million
for the first quarter of 2014, down $2.3 million from the fourth quarter of
2013.Included in the decline is an increase of $2.3 million in the
amortization of the indemnification asset.The amortization was $3.9 million
in the first quarter of 2014, compared to $1.6 million in the fourth quarter
of 2013, and reflects a lower level of expected future losses on covered
loans.

Service charges on deposits totaled $18.7 million for the first quarter of
2014, down $0.9 million, or 5%, from the fourth quarter of 2013.Bankcard and
ATM fees totaled $10.6 million, down approximately $0.7 million, or 6%, from
the fourth quarter of 2013.A portion of the linked-quarter decrease is
related to having two fewer business days in the first quarter of 2014 for
these fee income categories.

Trust, investment and annuity, and insurance fees totaled $18.9 million, up
$0.8 million, or 4%, from the fourth quarter of 2013.Included in the total
was $3.7 million of insurance revenue.The company announced on April 1, 2014
the divestiture of selected insurance business lines.As a result, insurance
revenue is expected to decline by approximately half beginning in the second
quarter of 2014.

Fees from secondary mortgage operations totaled $2.0 million for the first
quarter of 2014, up $0.4 million, or 26%, linked-quarter.The increase
reflects a higher level of loans sold in the secondary market during the
quarter.

Noninterest Expense & Taxes

Noninterest expense for the first quarter of 2014 totaled $147.0
million.Noninterest expense totaled $174.2 million in the fourth quarter of
2013 and included $17.1 million of one-time costs related to the expense and
efficiency initiative.Excluding these costs, noninterest expense (or
operating expense) totaled $157.1 million in the fourth quarter of 2013 and
were down $10.1 million, or 6%, linked-quarter.

Total personnel expense was $81.4 million in the first quarter of 2014, down
$3.5 million, or 4%, from the fourth quarter of 2013 excluding one-time
costs.Occupancy and equipment expense totaled $15.5 million in the first
quarter of 2014, down $0.8 million, or 5%, from the fourth quarter of
2013.The reduction in the personnel, occupancy and equipment expense
categories reflects in part a full quarter's impact from the sale of 7 Houston
area branches completed on November 8, 2013, the sale of 3 Alexandria,
Louisiana area branches completed on January 10, 2014 and the closure of two
branches that had been previously announced.Management has continued to
review its current branch network and expects to close an additional 16 branch
locations in Mississippi, Florida and Louisiana in early third quarter 2014 as
part of its ongoing branch rationalization process.

ORE expense totaled $1.8 million in the first quarter of 2014, up $0.2 million
from the fourth quarter of 2013.

Other operating expense totaled $41.3 million in the first quarter of 2014,
down $5.9 million, or 13%, from the fourth quarter of 2013 excluding one-time
costs.The decrease is mainly related to lower costs for advertising and
professional services.

The effective income tax rate for the first quarter of 2014 was 27%, up from
20% in the fourth quarter of 2013.The increase in the tax rate is primarily
related to several additional New Market Tax Credit investments that were
closed during the fourth quarter of 2013, reducing the rate for that
quarter.Management expects the effective tax rate to approximate 27% for the
remainder of 2014.The effective income tax rate continues to be less than the
statutory rate of 35% due primarily to tax-exempt income and tax credits.

Capital

Common shareholders' equity at March 31, 2014 totaled $2.5 billion.The
tangible common equity (TCE) ratio was 9.24%, up 24 bps from December 31,
2013.Final settlement of the accelerated share repurchase (ASR) transaction
will be completed in May, with approximately 600,000 shares expected to be
received.Management continues to review a full range of the strategic options
presented by Hancock's strong capital position, including additional stock
buybacks, organic growth, acquisitions or increased dividends.Additional
capital ratios are included in the financial tables.

Conference Call and Slide Presentation

Management will host a conference call for analysts and investors at 9:00 a.m.
Central Time on Thursday, April 17, 2014 to review the results.A live
listen-only webcast of the call will be available under the Investor Relations
section of Hancock's website at www.hancockbank.com.Additional financial
tables and a slide presentation related to first quarter results are also
posted as part of the webcast link.To participate in the Q&A portion of the
call, dial (877) 564-1219 or (973) 638-3429.An audio archive of the
conference call will be available under the Investor Relations section of our
website.A replay of the call will also be available through April 23, 2014 by
dialing (855) 859-2056 or (404) 537-3406, passcode 23429122.

About Hancock Holding Company

Hancock Holding Company is a multi-faceted financial services company with
regional business headquarters and locations throughout a growing Gulf South
corridor. The company's banking subsidiary provides a comprehensive network of
full-service financial choices through Hancock Bank locations in Mississippi,
Alabama, and Florida and Whitney Bank offices in Louisiana and Texas,
including traditional and online banking; commercial and small business
banking; energy banking; private banking; trust and investment services;
certain insurance services; mortgage services; and consumer financing. More
information and online banking are available at www.hancockbank.com and
www.whitneybank.com.

Forward-Looking Statements

This news release contains "forward-looking statements" within the meaning of
section 27A of the Securities Act of 1933, as amended, and section 21E of the
Securities Exchange Act of 1934, as amended, and we intend such
forward-looking statements to be covered by the safe harbor provisions therein
and are including this statement for purposes of invoking these safe-harbor
provisions.Forward-looking statements provide projections of results of
operations or of financial condition or state other forward-looking
information, such as expectations about future conditions and descriptions of
plans and strategies for the future.

Forward-looking statements that we may make include, but may not be limited
to, comments with respect to future levels of economic activity in our
markets, loan growth, deposit trends, credit quality trends, future sales of
nonperforming assets, net interest margin trends, future expense levels and
the ability to achieve reductions in non-interest expense or other cost
savings, projected tax rates, future profitability, improvements in expense to
revenue (efficiency) ratio, purchase accounting impacts such as accretion
levels, the impact of the branch rationalization process, and the financial
impact of regulatory requirements.

Hancock's ability to accurately project results or predict the effects of
future plans or strategies is inherently limited.Although Hancock believes
that the expectations reflected in its forward-looking statements are based on
reasonable assumptions, actual results and performance could differ materially
from those set forth in the forward-looking statements.Factors that could
cause actual results to differ from those expressed in Hancock's
forward-looking statements include, but are not limited to, those risk factors
outlined in Hancock's public filings with the Securities and Exchange
Commission, which are available at the SEC's internet site
(http://www.sec.gov).

You are cautioned not to place undue reliance on these forward-looking
statements.Hancock does not intend, and undertakes no obligation, to update
or revise any forward-looking statements, whether as a result of differences
in actual results, changes in assumptions or changes in other factors
affecting such statements, except as required by law.

HANCOCK HOLDING COMPANY
QUARTERLY HIGHLIGHTS
(Unaudited)
                   Three Months Ended
(amounts in
thousands, except   3/31/2014   12/31/2013  9/30/2013   6/30/2013   3/31/2013
per share data)
                                                               
INCOME STATEMENT                                                
DATA
Net interest income $165,562    $166,007    $171,530    $169,179    $174,015
Net interest income 168,198     168,466     174,112     171,822     176,741
(TE) (a)
Provision for loan  7,963       7,331       7,569       8,257       9,578
losses
Noninterest income
excluding           56,699      58,894      63,057      63,897      60,187
securities
transactions
Securities          --        105         --        --        --
transactions gains
Noninterest expense
(excluding one-time 146,982     157,097     161,318     162,250     159,602
noninterest expense
items)
One-time
noninterest expense --        17,116      20,887      --        --
items
Net income          49,115      34,716      33,202      46,862      48,576
Operating income    49,115      45,773      46,779      46,862      48,576
(b)
PERIOD-END BALANCE                                              
SHEET DATA
Loans               $12,527,937 $12,324,817 $11,734,472 $11,681,497 $11,482,762
Investment          3,797,883   4,033,124   4,124,202   4,303,918   4,662,279
securities
Earning assets      16,622,104  16,651,295  16,339,431  16,448,565  16,655,531
Total assets        19,004,170  19,009,251  18,801,846  18,934,301  19,064,123
Noninterest-bearing 5,613,872   5,530,253   5,479,696   5,340,177   5,418,463
deposits
Total deposits      15,274,774  15,360,516  15,054,871  15,155,938  15,253,351
Common
shareholders'       2,462,534   2,425,069   2,356,442   2,345,340   2,477,100
equity
AVERAGE BALANCE                                                 
SHEET DATA
Loans               $12,379,316 $11,903,603 $11,805,330 $11,594,891 $11,492,837
Investment          3,935,616   4,070,657   4,135,348   4,423,441   3,929,255
securities
Earning assets      16,740,353  16,376,587  16,384,635  16,500,215  16,517,702
Total assets        19,055,107  18,739,091  18,796,027  19,022,832  19,152,651
Noninterest-bearing 5,499,993   5,483,918   5,415,303   5,346,916   5,314,648
deposits
Total deposits      15,269,143  14,915,677  15,021,685  15,211,363  15,312,690
Common
shareholders'       2,435,980   2,355,768   2,338,945   2,405,069   2,448,010
equity
COMMON SHARE DATA                                               
Earnings per share  $0.58       $0.41       $0.40       $0.55       $0.56
- diluted
Operating earnings
per share - diluted 0.58        0.55        0.56        0.55        0.56
(b)
Cash dividends per  $0.24       $0.24       $0.24       $0.24       $0.24
share
Book value per      $29.93      $29.49      $28.70      $28.57      $29.18
share (period-end)
Tangible book value
per share           20.47       19.94       19.04       18.83       19.67
(period-end)
Weighted average
number of shares -  82,534      82,220      82,205      83,357      84,972
diluted
Market data                                                     
High sales price    $38.50      $37.12      $33.85      $30.93      $33.59
Low sales price     32.66       30.09       29.00       25.00       29.37
Period-end closing  36.65       36.68       31.38       30.07       30.92
price
Trading volume      31,328      27,816      29,711      38,599      29,469
PERFORMANCE RATIOS                                              
Return on average   1.05%       0.74%       0.70%       0.99%       1.03%
assets
Return on average
assets (operating)  1.05%       0.97%       0.99%       0.99%       1.03%
(b)
Return on average   8.18%       5.85%       5.63%       7.82%       8.05%
common equity
Return on average
common equity       8.18%       7.71%       7.93%       7.82%       8.05%
(operating) (b)
Return on average
tangible common     12.04%      8.79%       8.54%       11.74%      12.04%
equity
Return on average
tangible common     12.04%      11.59%      12.03%      11.74%      12.04%
equity (operating)
(b)
Tangible common     9.24%       9.00%       8.68%       8.52%       9.14%
equity ratio (c)
Net interest margin 4.06%       4.09%       4.23%       4.17%       4.32%
(TE) (a)
Average             81.20%      79.93%      78.70%      76.41%      75.30%
loan/deposit ratio
Efficiency ratio    62.23%      65.94%      64.95%      65.68%      64.17%
(d)
Allowance for loan
losses as a percent 1.02%       1.08%       1.18%       1.18%       1.20%
of period-end loans
Annualized net
charge-offs to      0.13%       0.17%       0.18%       0.24%       0.23%
average loans
Allowance for loan
losses to
non-performing      112.64%     111.97%     94.69%      91.43%      87.34%
loans + accruing
loans 90 days past
due
Noninterest income
excluding
securities          25.21%      25.90%      26.59%      27.11%      25.40%
transactions as a
percent of total
revenue (TE) (a)

(a) Tax-equivalent (TE) amounts are calculated using a federal income tax rate
    of 35%.
    Operating income excludes tax-effected securities transactions and
(b) one-time noninterest expense items. Management believes that operating
   income provides a useful measure of financial performance that helps
    investors compare the Company's fundamental operations over time.
    The tangible common equity ratio is total shareholders' equity less
(c) preferred stock and intangible assets divided by total assets less
    intangible assets.
    The efficiency ratio is noninterest expense to total net interest (TE) and
(d) noninterest income excluding amortization of purchased intangibles,
    one-time noninterest expense items, and securities transactions.

CONTACT: For More Information
         Trisha Voltz Carlson
         SVP, Investor Relations Manager
         504.299.5208
         trisha.carlson@hancockbank.com

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