First M&F's board decided that selling the company to Renasant (RNST) was the best way to help its patient shareholders cut their losses.

At least that's the view of Hugh Potts Jr., the Kosciusko, Miss., company's chairman and chief executive. Potts, who has led the $1.6 billion-asset company since 1994, said in an interview late last week that the $119 million price helps investors get close to what they put into First M&F (FMFC) before the financial crisis.

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