The collapse in oil prices hammered fourth-quarter profits at Hancock Holding as the Gulfport, Miss., sharply boosted its loan-loss provision address weakness in its energy loan book.

Net income at the $23 billion-asset holding company for Hancock Bank and Whitney Bank fell 62% to $15.3 million, versus the same period in 2014. Earnings per share fell 60% to 19 cents.

Hancock cited two reasons for the decline — a $43 million increase in its loan-loss allowance as a result of energy-sector weakness, and a $9.1 million decrease in purchase accounting income.

Hancock had disclosed in December that it would increase its allowance for loan losses. At the time, Hancock estimated the allowance would be raised by about $42 million. The total allowance for all energy loan losses was $78.2 million for the fourth quarter, and Hancock's total allowance for all loan losses was $181.2 million.

Net interest income fell 1.5% year over year to $158.4 million. The loan-loss provision swelled to $50.2 million from $9.7 million. The net interest margin compressed to 3.21%.

Total loans rose 12%, to $15.2 billion, from a year earlier. Hancock noted that it is attempting to decrease its concentration of energy loans and in the recent quarter it recorded loan growth in equipment finance, private banking, indirect auto lending and mortgages.

Fee income rose 4.7% to 59.7 million on higher bank card and ATM fees and investment and annuity fees.

Noninterest expense rose 8.3% to $156 million on higher salaries. The efficiency ratio worsened 522 basis points to 67.63%.

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