Hancock Holding Company (HBHC) in Gulfport, Miss., has named Deborah Conrad, a veteran international banker, as manager of its new export-finance group.

Conrad will oversee efforts by Whitney Bank and Hancock Bank, both units of the $19.2 billion-asset Hancock Holding, to help businesses obtain federal export-finance assistance and increase global sales. She will be based in Houston and serve customers throughout the Gulf Coast region, Hancock said Thursday.

"Export finance is becoming more important to businesses and industries in the Gulf Coast region every day," Carl Chaney, the chief executive of Hancock Holding, said in a news release. Hancock is "committed to providing the specialized services and products clients need to succeed in today's global marketplace."

Customers will have greater access to export credit insurance that allows foreign accounts receivable to be used for borrowing purposes, Hancock said. It will also provide working capital financing for exports, a program that helps American exporters close sales with foreign buyers who need financing and a program insuring letters of credit issued by foreign banks.

Conrad spent 17 years with the U.S. Export-Import Bank in Washington. She joined Hancock from U.S. Bancorp (USB), where she was manager of its Ex-Im Working Capital Guarantee Program in Los Angeles.

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