Both company boards met six weeks ago in a “secret meeting” said Cadence Bank Chairman and Chief Executive Officer and Mississippi State University alumnus Paul Murphy. The board unanimously approved the merger Friday.
The new combined company will operate as Cadence Bank, though with the merger BancorpSouth shareholders will own 55 percent of the combined company’s stock. The two companies are taking both banks’ logo aesthetics to create one combined logo.
BancorpSouth Board Chairman and CEO Dan Rollins said the companies ultimately settled on the name change due to the geographical limitations of BancorpSouth’s name. While it may be difficult to “take off their jersey and wear someone else’s,” he said, the teams share the same goal and care about their customers.
Rollins will serve as chairman and CEO of the company with Murphy as the executive vice-chairman. Rollins said this merger will create growth and prosperity for the newly joined banks and will allow for enhanced customer relations.
“This is a fantastic opportunity for us to continue to grow our bank,” Rollins said. “What you’re looking for when you’re growing your bank is a culture that fits. You want to be able to take care of your customers. Making sure that everything we are doing is focused on customer experience.”
BancorpSouth was founded in Verona, Mississippi, 145 years ago, while Cadence Bank started in Starkville 134 years ago. Rollins said he is thrilled to be bringing these two Mississippi corporations together.
“This is a really big win for North Mississippi, in particular, to be able to put these two institutions who have roots deep in North Mississippi together,” Rollins said.
Local branches will decide the best strategies to serve their communities going forward, Murphy said. Cadence plans on combining locations that are in close proximity to one another, but this will only affect a few branches.
“There will be a very limited number of branch consolidations, but that won’t be for six to nine months away,” Murphy said. “There will be lots of notice on that, but (there won’t be much) of that type thing.”
There are two BancorpSouth and two Cadence Bank branches in Columbus, two BancorpSouth and three Cadence Bank branches in Starkville and one BancorpSouth and two Cadence Bank branches in West Point.
Bankers of Cadence and BancorpSouth locations in the Golden Triangle were restricted from speaking with the Dispatch regarding the merger announcement due to the companies’ protocols. Murphy said on behalf of some of the area bankers, he believes they have high expectations for the future of Cadence Bank.
“I was in Starkville for lunch today, and I met with about 15 or 16 of our bankers, and they’re pleased,” Murphy said. “They think it’s a good decision and have a lot of enthusiasm and excitement about the deal.”
The main customer benefit for this merger, Murphy said, will be the new products provided. Because both banks offer different services, customers can now procure both companies’ benefits such as competitive pricing on loans and deposits and access to investment plans. Murphy said both teams are continuously conceptualizing more products to offer customers.
Rollins said technology is a major aspect of the banking industry. He said because Cadence Bank will now be a larger organization, it will have the capital to invest more into technology for customers.
Rollins and Murphy are expecting to culminate the merger toward the end of this year, making Cadence Bank one of the 50 largest banks in the country. Rollins said the ultimate goal of this merger is to provide customers with a better banking experience.
“Banking is a small world, and it’s really nice seeing everybody coming together,” Rollins said. “Everyone is dedicated to taking care of the community and their customers.”