Shares of Hancock Holding Co. fell 16.5% Wednesday, to $27.57, after the Gulfport, Miss., company reported that fourth-quarter earnings fell 50% from a year earlier, to $8.3 million.

Per-share earnings fell 51%, to 26 cents.

The $7.2 billion-asset company, which announced the results after the markets closed Tuesday, attributed the decline to significant increases in chargeoffs and past-due loans.

Net chargeoffs jumped 432% from a year earlier to $12.6 million, while nonperforming assets increased 130%, to $35.3 million. Its provision for loan rose nearly fourfold, to $17.1 million.

Hancock said its deposit growth was strong in the quarter. It said deposits rose nearly $516 million from three months earlier "as many customers continued to seek a safe and secure bank for their money."

For the year, Hancock said earnings fell 11.5%, to $65.4 million. Its return on average assets for the year was 1.02%, down 24 basis points.

Subscribe Now

Access to authoritative analysis and perspective and our data-driven report series.

14-Day Free Trial

No credit card required. Complete access to articles, breaking news and industry data.