M&F bank to merge with Renasant
by Rory Doyle
Feb 08, 2013 | 1642 views | 0 0 comments | 7 7 recommendations | email to a friend | print
The banking company Renasant Corporation will become Mississippi's fourth-largest bank by deposits thanks to its acquisition of First M&F Corp on Thursday.

The companies announced the signing of a definitive merger agreement and both party's boards have approved the deal, which still must meet shareholder and regulatory approval. 

Renasant expects to close the merger by the third quarter of this year.

"Both M&F and Renasant are very similar in their community approach to banking. We serve our clients with similar philosophies," said John Oxford, Renasant vice president and director of external affairs.

"The move also fills in some of our state presence in Mississippi," added Oxford.

Renasant, based in Tupelo, has 75 offices in Mississippi, Alabama, Tennessee and Georgia.

First M&F, based Kosciusko, has locations in Mississippi, Alabama and Tennessee.

"Our goal is to make the transition to Renasant as easy as possible for anyone with M&F," said Oxford. "This is a partnership, meaning we may adopt products and services from M&F if they better serve our clients."

The merger is expected to result in cost savings of $12 million a year and remaining M&F locations will adopt the Renasant brand sometime around July.

With the merger, Renasant said it would double the size of its insurance operations and strengthen its mortgage and wealth management divisions.

Upon completion of the transaction, the combined company will have approximately $5.8 billion in total assets.

The merger will significantly increase the company’s deposit market share in Birmingham and Memphis and the key Mississippi markets of Tupelo, Oxford and Starkville.

It will also provide entrance into the suburban markets surrounding Jackson.

“We are excited for the opportunity to expand our reach within every Renasant region, double our insurance operations, and enhance our mortgage and wealth management divisions," said Renasant Chairman, President and Chief Executive Officer E. Robinson McGraw in a press release.

"This merger creates a stronger Renasant franchise that allows for not only new market entries and additional branch locations within our legacy markets, but provides the realization of significant cost savings through strategic branch consolidations and future earnings growth by combining two strongly competitive community banking institutions,” McGraw added.

First M&F Chairman and CEO Hugh Potts Jr. will remain in a management role after the merger.

Oxford stressed that Renasant's commitment to service will be a benefit to all areas involved in the change.

"We want to emphasize that we always take pride in our service to the community," said Oxford.

Subject to the receipt of regulatory approvals, it is expected that all M&F preferred stock and warrants held by the U.S. Treasury under the Community Development Capital Initiative will be redeemed prior to the closing of the merger.