First United Bancshares in El Dorado, Ark., has hired Union Planters Corp. executive John G. Copeland as senior vice president and chief financial officer.

He will be in charge of strategic planning, mergers and acquisitions, corporate accounting, and shareholder relations for $2.5 billion-asset First United.

Mr. Copeland joined Memphis-based Union Planters in 1974. Since 1991 he had been the financial division vice president responsible for mergers and acquisitions and for performance reporting. He has 24 years of banking experience

At First United he succeeded Robert L. Jones, who became interim chief financial officer last August after John E. Burns resigned. Mr. Jones is president of First United's First National Bank of Magnolia, in the Arkansas community of that name.

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