Whitney Holding Corporation (the Company or Whitney) is a Louisiana corporation registered under the Bank Holding Company Act of 1956, as amended (BHCA). The Company began operations in 1962 as the parent of Whitney National Bank (the Bank). The Bank is a national banking association headquartered in New Orleans, Louisiana, that has engaged in the general banking business in the greater New Orleans area continuously since 1883. The Company has at times operated as a multi-bank holding company when it established or acquired new entities in connection with business acquisitions. To achieve the synergies and efficiencies of operating as a single-bank holding company, the Company has merged all banking operations into the Bank and intends to continue merging the operations of any future acquisitions at the earliest possible date.
NATURE OF BUSINESS AND MARKETS
The Company, through the Bank, engages in community banking activities and serves a market area that covers the five-state Gulf Coast region stretching from Houston, Texas, across southern Louisiana and the coastal region of Mississippi, to central and south Alabama, the western panhandle of Florida, and to the metropolitan area of Tampa Bay, Florida. The Bank also maintains a foreign branch on Grand Cayman in the British West Indies.
The Bank provides a broad range of community banking services to commercial, small business and retail customers, offering a variety of transaction and savings deposit products, treasury management services, investment brokerage services, secured and unsecured loan products, including revolving credit facilities, and letters of credit and similar financial guarantees. The Bank also provides trust and investment management services to retirement plans, corporations and individuals. Through its subsidiaries, the Bank also offers personal and business lines of insurance and annuity products to its customers.
The Company also owns Whitney Community Development Corporation (WCDC). WCDC was formed to provide financial support to corporations or projects that promote community welfare in areas with mainly low or moderate incomes. WCDC’s primary activity has been to provide financing for the development of affordable housing.
All material funds of the Company are invested in the Bank. The Bank has a large number of customer relationships that have been developed over a period of many years. In 2008, the Bank celebrated its 125th anniversary of continuous operations in the greater New Orleans area. The loss of any single customer or a few customers would not have a material adverse effect on the Bank or the Company. The Bank has customers in a number of foreign countries; however, the revenue derived from these foreign customers is not a material portion of its overall revenues.
There is significant competition within the financial services industry in general as well as with respect to the particular financial services provided by the Company and the Bank. Within its market, the Bank competes directly with major banking institutions of comparable or larger size and resources and with various other smaller banking organizations. The Bank also has numerous local and national nonbank competitors, including savings and loan associations, credit unions, mortgage companies, personal and commercial finance companies, investment brokerage and financial advisory firms, and mutual fund companies. Entities that deliver financial services and access to financial products and transactions exclusively through the Internet are another source of competition. Technological advances have allowed the Bank and other financial institutions to provide electronic and Internet-based services that enhance the value of traditional financial products. Continued consolidation within the financial services industry will most likely change the nature and intensity of competition that Whitney faces, but can also create opportunities for Whitney to demonstrate and exploit competitive advantages.
The participants in the financial services industry are subject to varying degrees of regulation and governmental supervision. The following section summarizes certain important aspects of the supervision and regulation of banks and bank holding companies. Some of Whitney’s competitors that are neither banks nor bank holding companies may be subject to less regulation than the Company and the Bank, and this may give them a competitive advantage. The system of laws and regulations affecting the financial services industry has been changing recently with the implementation of laws such as the Emergency Economic Stabilization Act (EESA) and the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA) and will continue to change as the government attempts to respond to financial crises that have affected the banking system and financial markets. These changes, as well as future changes, in the laws and regulations governing the financial industry could and likely will influence the competitive positions of the participants in this industry. We cannot predict whether the changes will be favorable or unfavorable to the Company and the Bank.
At the end of 2009, the Company and the Bank had a total of 2,730 employees, or 2,661 employees on a full-time equivalent basis. Whitney affords its employees a variety of competitive benefit programs including retirement plans and group health, life and other insurance programs. The Company also supports training and educational programs designed to ensure that employees have the types and levels of skills needed to perform at their best in their current positions and to help them prepare for positions of increased responsibility.