Hancock Whitney Hires Commercial Banking Team for Jackson, MS Expansion



Hancock Whitney announced plans to expand into Jackson, MS, by hiring a well-known, experienced team of local commercial bankers. Hancock Whitney will open a loan production office which the bank plans in the future to transition into a financial center focused on serving business and commercial clients throughout the region.

The team brings expertise in asset-based lending, equipment financing, commercial real estate, commercial construction, small business lending and business banking.

Gulfport, MS-based Hancock Whitney, the largest bank headquartered in Mississippi, has had a trust office in Jackson for many years.

“Expanding Hancock Whitney’s presence in greater Jackson has been a long-term goal. We’re very pleased it’s now a reality,” said Hancock Whitney President and CEO John M. Hairston. “We’ve recruited a team of top local commercial bankers to serve some of the region’s leading companies. Those seasoned financial professionals will help us introduce more of our metro Jackson neighbors to the strength, integrity, and service that have set Hancock Whitney apart for 120-plus years.”

Veteran Jackson banker Leigh Pace will serve as Hancock Whitney Jackson Market President. He will oversee day-to-day activities and lead the Hancock Whitney Jackson team from the loan production office. An expanded 6,000-square-foot financial location in the same building is currently under renovation, with plans for completion this summer.

A local bank executive for more than 28 years, Pace knows the Jackson business, community and financial services arenas well. In 2016 the Mississippi Business Journal recognized him as a Leader in Finance.

In addition to Pace, the Hancock Whitney Jackson banking team comprises bankers with more than 70 years of collective industry experience:

  • Melissa Peters joins Hancock Whitney as a senior vice president and commercial banker, with more than 16 years of experience in helping Jackson-area businesses grow. Peters’ portfolio includes extensive expertise in asset-based lending, equipment financing, commercial real estate and commercial construction. She was recognized as one of Mississippi Business Journal’s Fifty Leading Business Women
  • Justin Gauthier brings 15 years of experience to his role as a Hancock Whitney Vice President and Business Banker. Gauthier will provide clients expertise in small business lending, commercial lending and private banking.
  • Adam R. Cox joins Hancock Whitney as a Senior Vice President and Commercial Relationship Banker with 11 years of metro Jackson banking experience. Cox specializes in commercial real estate lending, relationship management and business development.

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