Sumary of Climate change ‘will take all of our focus,’ Hancock Whitney CEO says:
- As a boy, Hancock Whitney CEO John Hairston fished in the waters off Grand Isle, Louisiana, a well-used launching point for explorations of coastal estuaries.
- 29, all but a handful of homes and businesses are uninhabitable, Hairston said in a recent interview.
- But more rural areas like Grand Isle could take years to recover, said Hairston, who grew up in nearby Mississippi.
- For Gulfport, Mississippi-based Hancock Whitney and other Gulf Coast banks, hurricane cleanup and recovery has become as much of an annual ritual as the shareholder meeting.
- Now Hairston is grappling publicly with climate change in a way that many bankers have been reluctant to do.
- Addressing climate change “will take all of our focus and thoughtfulness,” Hairston said.
- Climate change has also become part of Democrats’ debate over the potential renomination of Federal Reserve Chair Jerome Powell, who recently said that the central bank is well positioned to assess climate risk to the financial system but should not be setting climate policy.
- Hancock Whitney has so far spent $2.5 million in its response to Ida, footing the bill for everything from meals, bottled water and hotel rooms for displaced staff to roof repairs and supplying power generators to turn the lights back on in New Orleans.