updated 5/18/2011 5:17:56 PM ET 2011-05-18T21:17:56

GULFPORT, Miss., May 18, 2011 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- Hancock Holding Company (Nasdaq:HBHC) today announced that the company's board of directors approved a regular second quarter 2011 common stock cash dividend of $0.24 per share.

Approved during the May meeting of the company's board of directors, the regular quarterly common stock cash dividend is payable June 15, 2011, to shareholders of record as of June 6, 2011, including holders of Hancock common stock received in connection with the Whitney Holding Corporation (Nasdaq:WTNY) merger expected to close on June 4, 2011.

About Hancock Holding Company

With approximately $8.1 billion in assets as of March 31, 2011, Hancock Holding Company is headquartered in Gulfport, Miss. Hancock operates 138 branches and more than 160 ATMs in Mississippi, Louisiana, Alabama, and Florida. Founded in 1899, Hancock Bank has ranked as one of America's strongest, safest financial institutions for more than 21 consecutive years; and Hancock Holding Company has rated as one of Forbes' "100 Most Trustworthy Companies" for two years in a row. The Hancock financial services family also includes Hancock Investment Services, Inc.; Hancock Insurance Agency and its divisions of J. Everett Eaves and Ross King Walker; Magna Insurance Company; corporate trust offices in Gulfport and Jackson, Miss., New Orleans and Baton Rouge, La., and Orlando, Fla.; and Harrison Finance Company. More corporate information and e-Banking are available at www.hancockbank.com .

The Hancock Holding Company logo is available at http://www.globenewswire.com/newsroom/prs/?pkgid=2758

"SAFE HARBOR" STATEMENT UNDER THE PRIVATE SECURITIES LITIGATION REFORM ACT OF 1995Congress passed the Private Securities Litigation Act of 1995 in an effort to encourage corporations to provide information about companies' anticipated future financial performance. This act provides a safe harbor for such disclosure, which protects the companies from unwarranted litigation if actual results are different from management expectations. This release contains forward-looking statements and reflects management's current views and estimates of future economic circumstances, industry conditions, company performance, and financial results. These forward-looking statements are subject to a number of factors and uncertainties which could cause the Company's actual results and experience to differ from the anticipated results and expectations expressed in such forward-looking statements.

CONTACT: Carl J. Chaney, President & Chief Executive Officer
         Michael M. Achary, Executive Vice President &
         Chief Financial Officer
         800.522.6542 or 228.868.4725

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