Renasant-First M&F merger should close by year-end

By Dennis Seid/NEMS Daily Journal

By the end of the year, Renasant Corp.’s merger with First M&F Corp. should be complete, with the combination forming the state’s fourth-largest bank.
Tupelo-based Renasant’s acquisition of its Kosciusko-based rival was announced earlier this year, and shareholders overwhelmingly voted for the deal Tuesday.
More than 99 percent of shareholders of both companies – representing nearly 24 million shares – agreed to the merger, which will see First M&F shareholders receive 0.6425 shares of Renasant stock for each share of First M&F stock they own.
The transaction is valued at about $143 million, and First M&F shareholders will own about 20 percent of the merged bank.
Renasant also will repay $30 million in federal bailout funds First M&F received during the recession.
Regulatory approval for the merger still must be gained, but that’s expected by Sept. 30.
“We’d like it to happen sooner, rather than later,” said John Oxford, Renasant’s vice president of external affairs.
The combined bank will have $5.8 billion in assets, $3.8 billion in loans and $4.9 billion in deposits.
The banks will merge their operations, and M&F Bank locations will be converted to Renasant Bank branches by the end of the year.
M&F has 36 bank branches in Mississippi, Alabama and Tennessee, and 13 are within a mile of a Renasant branch. Renasant has 81 branches in Mississippi, Alabama, Tennessee and Georgia.
In an earlier SEC filing, Renasant said it will consolidate nine of the overlapping locations, including eight in Mississippi.
Six of the nine are M&F branches, including three in Tupelo and one each in Grenada, Southaven and Starkville.
M&F’s main office in Tupelo is among those targeted for closure, but Oxford said its fate hasn’t yet been determined.
“We are weighing options on the downtown location, and any decision will be made post-merger close,” he said. Renasant’s downtown headquarters sits only a couple of blocks away from the M&F building.
As for Renasant, it will close one location each in Oxford, Horn Lake and Birmingham.
The branch consolidations also will mean some staff reductions, though Oxford said the cuts will not be too deep.
“We are retaining the vast majority of employees in north Mississippi,” he said.
In addition, the merger expects to save Renasant 25 percent of First M&F’s expenses, or about $12 million, in 2014.
Two current First M&F board members will be named to Renasant’s board as part of the merger.

At A Glance
The sites Renasant will consolidate include six M&F branches and
three Renasant branches:

• Tupelo, 333 Court St.
• Tupelo, 425 W. Main St.
• Tupelo, 901 S. Gloster St.
• Grenada, 350 Sunset Drive
• Southaven 287 Main St.
• Starkville, 315 University Drive

• Oxford: 1106 Van Buren Ave.
• Horn Lake: 3082 W. Goodman
• Birmingham, Ala.: 5410 Highway
280 Suite 101

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