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Tallest Office Building in Louisiana to Become Hancock Whitney Center

August 11, 2017
Gary Lorio
Gary Lorio

Over a century ago, our founders saw the need for a bank built to last: an institution anchored in values, reinforced with resilience, and focused on opportunity. Building upon this same opportunity which created foundations from the character and community that distinguish the Gulf South, Whitney Bank announced today that it will relocate its regional headquarters in downtown New Orleans into space at 701 Poydras Street, currently One Shell Square, establishing a new presence in the tallest office building in Louisiana. The bank will rename the building Hancock Whitney Center and will add its name to the city’s skyline.


“We have had deep roots in this community since our inception in 1883, and today is a major milestone in our long history here in New Orleans and across the Gulf South,” said Hancock Holding Company and Whitney Bank CEO John Hairston. “Adding our name to the New Orleans skyline and upgrading our local headquarters right in the heart of the central business district is another symbol of our commitment to the city and region. It reinforces our commitment to servicing the entire greater New Orleans area and the broader Gulf South corridor as we have for more than a century.”

Hairston said that Whitney Bank will move all of its operations and all 400 employees currently located at 228 St. Charles Ave. into seven floors of unoccupied and unutilized space at the new Poydras Street location in 2018. “We are excited by this great opportunity to move into this great facility and to be able to provide a more modern work environment for our associates so that they can deliver on our 5-star service promise for our clients,” Hairston said.

   Click photo to view Whitney Bank's history in New Orleans

In addition, the bank will open a new technologically-advanced marque financial center in the new headquarters’ second floor lobby designed to serve its commercial clients in the heart of the city’s business center, as well as consumer clients who live, work or visit downtown. The location will be designed to enable a warm, in-person service experience as well as showcase advanced products such as payment processing, payment cards, and the upcoming digital banking upgrade.  

“Hancock Holding Company and Whitney Bank are making a long-term commitment to the local community and economy with this move, and it is win-win for our city, our clients, and our company,” said Whitney Bank President Joe Exnicios. “It gives us a more efficient and usable space to provide better services and products, and it gives us room to grow.”

The current Whitney Bank facilities at 228 St. Charles, which are a complex of seven buildings, are rich with history and located on a prominent intersection of New Orleans business and tourism.  Exnicios said, “We have a long and storied history in these seven buildings, and will consider a transaction to transform the legacy facility into a magnificent symbol of the growing New Orleans economy.” 

Hairston added that the 320 operations and technology employees who work in the facility established at the University of New Orleans in March 2015 will stay in their offices at the lakefront.

After opening in 1883 in New Orleans, Whitney Bank established a branch on Gravier Street between Camp Street and St. Charles Avenue in 1888. Today that location serves as the bank’s safe deposit facility. In 1905, Whitney Bank merged with the Germania National Bank, located at 610 Poydras Street. In 1911, Whitney erected a new headquarters adjacent to its Gravier Street location, which is today located at 228 St. Charles Avenue.  Over the years the facilities at this St. Charles Avenue location continued to be expanded into the network of seven different buildings it comprises today.

“This is a logical next step in our long tradition of expansion and growth in New Orleans,” Hairston said. “We’ve never been more committed to the place where Whitney Bank was born, and we’re excited to have a new, expandable New Orleans facility from which to grow.