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Hancock Bank/Whitney Bank closing up to 45 branches

Hancock Bank and Whitney Bank are closing between 40 and 45 branches starting in August in a five-state area, including Florida, parent Hancock Holding Co. confirmed Friday.

Hancock/Whitney has 13 bay area branches, along with multiple locations in Bradenton, according to its Web site.

Hancock spokesman R. Paul Maxwell said the company will likely disclose locations of some of the affected branches within 10 days after clients are notified. Most of the closings will take place Aug. 30, followed by "a handful of possible additional closures" by the end of the year, the bank said.

Hancock, which is based in Gulfport, Miss., bought New Orleans-based Whitney in 2010, giving it a firm foothold in the Tampa Bay market. Whitney had entered the bay area in 2004 with the purchase of Madison Bancshares in Palm Harbor. It followed that deal by buying First National Bancshares of Bradenton, then added St. Petersburg's Signature Bank.

In a statement, the company indicated it had discussed the closures during the recent Gulf South Bank Conference in New Orleans.

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