Trustmark (TRMK) has received approval from regulators to buy BancTrust Financial Group in Mobile, Ala.

The Jackson, Miss., company had waited months for approval to by BancTrust Financial Group (BTFG). Trustmark agreed to buy BancTrust for $55 million in May; last October the two companies extended the closing deadline to give regulators more time to review the deal.

The companies expect to complete the deal on Feb. 15, with integration planned by the end of the first quarter.

Some analysts panned the acquisition, citing BancTrust's troubled loan portfolio. Gerard Host, Trustmark's president and chief executive, had argued that the Alabama market is poised for growth. "Expansion into attractive Alabama markets, including Mobile and Montgomery, as well as increasing scale in existing Florida Panhandle markets, represents a great opportunity for Trustmark," Host said in a press release.

BancTrust, with $2 billion in assets, has 40 branches in Alabama and nine in Florida. The $9.7 billion-asset Trustmark has 170 branches in Florida, Mississippi, Tennessee and Texas.

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