Bank Establishes Large Loan Fund

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BancorpSouth is setting aside a $500 million loan fund aimed at Mississippi businesses, saying it will work with state officials to find qualified borrowers.

Gov. Phil Bryant appeared with BancorpSouth executives to praise the move Thursday.

Officials spoke at the headquarters of C Spire Wireless, citing the eight-story office building as an example of a project that cooperation between BancorpSouth and a state program made possible.

The fund underscores bank efforts to step up lending as their coffers swell with deposits. More loans would help restore bank profitability to pre-recession levels.

Bank loans fell sharply during the recession and officials with Tupelo-based BancorpSouth say some would-be borrowers still think banks aren't lending.

The move echoes a $1 billion pool Regions Financial Corp. announced for Alabama businesses in February.