News/Press Releases

June 2 , 2004

Hancock Bank enhances merchant services with First Data agreement

GULFPORT, MS (June 2, 2004) - An alliance between 105-year-old Hancock Bank - one of America's strongest, safest financial institutions - and Denver-based First Data Corp., a global leader in electronic commerce and payments services, will strengthen the competitive advantages available to merchants using Hancock's credit card transaction services.

The agreement establishes Hancock Merchant Services under which First Data will provide all merchant payment processing services on behalf of Hancock Bank. The arrangement further advances the technology offered to Hancock merchant customers through an expanded portfolio of electronic products and services and augments a merchant support network with additional relationship managers throughout Hancock's Gulf South markets.

In accordance with the First Data agreement, Hancock Holding Company received a one-time pre-tax cash payment of $3.0 million that will increase second quarter 2004 after-tax earnings by $1.950 million, or $.06 per share. In addition, the agreement stipulates that Hancock will participate in revenue related to both the existing book of business, as well as new business.

Having processed more than 12.2 billion merchant transactions last year, First Data's core systems and services include authorization, settlement, chargeback, reconciliation, credit, debit, gift card, check verification and guarantee, point-of-sale solutions, and equipment management. Hancock Merchant Services will combine Hancock Bank's strong brand recognition and branch distribution with First Data's economies of scale and expertise in growing a merchant business.

"Many of today's successful businesses depend on efficient, cost-effective card processing to give customers convenient electronic payment options and secure timely payment for goods or services. By assuming responsibility for Hancock Bank's merchant services transactions, First Data will help Hancock deliver enhanced comprehensive service to business customers in the Mississippi, Louisiana, Alabama, and Florida communities Hancock serves," said Hancock Bank President and Chief Executive Officer George A. Schloegel.

"Every second of every day, millions of people and businesses around the world rely on First Data to handle transactions safely, reliably, and securely," said John Shlonsky, president, First Data Merchant Services. "This new alliance with Hancock Bank enables us to provide a greater choice of superior payment options to merchants who need them. We at First Data pride ourselves on our ability to represent our bank partners with the same customer care and level of service that they provide their customers today."

About Hancock Bank

Founded in 1899 and rated among the top 4.6 percent of United States financial institutions for financial soundness, Hancock Bank operates 103 full-service offices and more than 140 automated teller machines throughout South Mississippi, Louisiana, and the Florida Panhandle. Bank subsidiaries include Hancock Investment Services, Inc., Hancock Insurance Agency, Magna Insurance Company, Hancock Mortgage Corporation, and Harrison Finance Company. Hancock Holding Company (NASDAQ: HBHC), the parent company of Hancock Bank (Mississippi), Hancock Bank of Louisiana, and Hancock Bank of Florida, has assets of $4.4 billion. Additional corporate information and online banking and bill pay services are available at

About First Data

First Data Corp. (NYSE: FDC), with global headquarters in Denver, helps power the global economy. As a leader in electronic commerce and payment services, First Data serves approximately 3.5 million merchant locations, 1,400 card issuers, and millions of consumers, making it easy, fast and secure for people and businesses around the world to buy goods and services using virtually any form of payment. With more than 30,000 employees worldwide, the company provides credit, debit, private-label, smart and stored-value card issuing and merchant transaction processing services; Internet commerce solutions; money transfer services; money orders; and check guarantee and verification services. The STAR® Network offers PIN-secured debit acceptance at 264,000 ATMs and one million point-of-sale locations nationwide. First Data also offers a variety of payment services to businesses around the world including those in the United Kingdom, Australia, Canada, Japan, Mexico, Spain, Panama, Brazil, China, the Netherlands, the Middle East and Germany. Its Western Union and Orlandi Valuta money transfer networks include approximately 188,000 agent locations in more than 195 countries and territories. Visit for more information.

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R. Paul Maxwell, Hancock Bank, VP & Corporate Communications Manager
800.522.6542 (ext. 5252) or 228.214.5252

James K. Green, First Data Corp., Manager of Corporate Communications