TUPELO, Miss. — BancorpSouth Inc., which does business in nine states, including Louisiana, is offering a voluntary early retirement package to employees age 60 and over with 10 consecutive years of experience with the company.

The early retirement offer by the parent of Tupelo, Miss.-based BancorpSouth Bank has been made to 418 employees — or about 10 percent of the company’s work force — who were eligible.

BancorpSouth spokesman Randy Burchfield says in a statement that the company does not know how many employees might accept the package. He says the company is not releasing details on what is being offered.

Of the 296 employees who have already responded, 194 have accepted the offer, the company said. All responses are due before May 23.

BancorpSouth employs about 4,200 employees at more than 270 locations.

In April, BancorpSouth said profit fell in the first quarter as lower interest rates cut into its income.

The bank said profit fell to $20.8 million, or 22 cents per share, in the quarter that ended March 31. That’s down about 9 percent from the same three months of 2012.

The results of the early retirement program will result in a one-time pre-tax charge ranging from $8 million to $16 million, or 6 cents to 10 cents per share net of tax, in the company’s second-quarter earnings.

Phased-in annual pre-tax savings will range from $7 million to $12 million, or 4 cents to 8 cents per share net of tax, the company said.

“This voluntary early retirement opportunity is part of an ongoing initiative designed to improve efficiency and reduce costs,” Dan Rollins, chief executive officer said in a statement.

The company’s senior executive officers and certain other key employees are not eligible for the voluntary early retirement program.

BancorpSouth Inc. is a financial holding company with $13.4 billion in assets. Subsdiary BancorpSouth Bank has operations in Alabama, Arkansas, Florida, Louisiana, Mississippi, Missouri, Tennessee and Texas, including an insurance location in Illinois.