Merger with Renasant Means Positive Changes Ahead for HeritageBank of the South Clients

Lucy Adams

Wednesday, July 1st, 2015

Last December, Renasant Corporation of Tupelo, Ms. and Heritage Financial Group, Inc. of Albany, Ga. announced their definitive merger agreement.  The all-stock transaction, which closes today (July 1), will result in HeritageBank of the South merging with and into Renasant Bank. HeritageBank of the South brings with it approximately $1.9 billion in assets, $1.2 billion in loans and $1.3 billion in deposits, plus 48 banking, mortgage and investment offices in Alabama, Georgia and Florida, which will result in approximately $7.5 billion in total assets, $5.2 billion in gross loans and $6.1 billion in deposits with 171 banking, mortgage, insurance, wealth management and investment offices in Mississippi, Alabama, Tennessee, Georgia and Florida for the combined company. Between now and September 1, the visible and tangible outcomes of the merger will become evident to HeritageBank customers.

O. Leonard Dorminey, former president and CEO of Heritage and new executive vice president of Renasant Corporation and president of Renasant Bank's Georgia region, predicts a smooth transition for customers, stockholders and team members. “I knew the people at Renasant long before we started talking about combining our companies and I knew we had a very similar operating philosophy. Our [HeritageBank] philosophy has also been that safety and soundness are at the top of the pyramid both operationally and on the lending side.” Even before the merger, each company focused on providing good benefits and good job opportunities for team members, as well as being actively involved in the communities they serve. Entering into the merger with closely aligned philosophies and practices will result in positive outcomes all the way around.

The merger establishes Renasant as one of the largest community banks operating in the Southeast with significant other business lines including insurance, mortgage and wealth management. Today, the merger moves from the boardroom to the bank branches as temporary new signage goes up at HeritageBank locations. This process is expected to be complete by July 6. Permanent signage is expected to be in place by September 1.

On August 24, the conversion of deposit accounts and banking systems for HeritageBank will take place. Dorminey says, “It’s important that we communicate to customers what will happen. We are spending tens of thousands of dollars to ensure that frustrations don’t occur.” In August, every client will receive a Conversion Guide designed to answer most of their questions and to let them know exactly what to expect during the transition.

Beginning in mid-June, Renasant started sending letters to HeritageBank customers explaining changes and any actions required by the individual customer. For now, HeritageBank depositors will continue to use their current set of checks and current debit card. At the time of conversion, however, some account numbers will change and those customers affected will receive written notice with detailed information. For the most part, client banking will continue as usual with a few exceptions, such as replacement of the HeritageBank mobile app with a more robust Renasant mobile app and a change to some customer debit and ATM card PIN numbers for security reasons, all going into effect on August 21.

Inside the branches, however, bank customers will be greeted and served by the same team members they know and trust. They can also expect to avail themselves of an expanded portfolio of products and services, such as wealth management tools and insurance options, and that the portfolio will grow in the future. “With a bigger bank you have more resources to deploy to product development,” says Dorminey. He adds, “We want our customers to know they can expect the same level of outstanding service they’ve always received. We’re still the same great bank they chose when they chose Heritage.”