The First Bancshares announced that it has acquired Gulf Coast Community Bank, based in Pensacola, Florida and Iberville Bank, based in Plaquemine, Los Angeles.

The First Bancshares President and CEO Hoppy Cole said: “We are pleased to welcome the customers and staff of both Iberville Bank and Gulf Coast Community Bank to our team. We are excited about the opportunities that these mergers will create.

“The combination of Iberville Bank, Gulf Coast Community Bank and The First will create a community bank focused on its local markets with the products, services and lending capacity of a $1.6bn dollar organization.”

The acquisitions announced today represent a continued expansion of The First Bancshares strategy to build a regional community bank across the Gulf South.

The transactions will open a new market for the Company, adding five locations in Pensacola Florida and will significantly increase the Companies market presence in Central Louisiana with 10 new locations in the Baton Rouge area.

The First will now serve clients in MS, LA, AL and FL with 48 locations and will grow to $1.6bn in total assets and $1.3bn in total deposits.