|Key figures Impact story|
Southern Bancorp’s mission is to create economic opportunity in rural America through increased access to capital as well as responsible and responsive financial services that empower individuals, families and communities.
Nearly thirty years ago, rural America gained an economic development partner when Bill and Hillary Clinton, Rob Walton, Mohammad Yunus, the Winthrop Rockefeller Foundation, and others came together around a central idea – that the economic challenges facing rural America could in part be addressed through the creation of a financial organisation focused solely on serving the underserved.
With an initial investment of $10 million, and a mission plus margin mindset, Southern Bancorp, Inc., along with its development partners – Southern Bancorp Bank and Southern Bancorp Community Partners, has grown to become one of the most effective and largest community development organisations in the United States, as well as a model for an entire industry of mission-focused financial institutions known as Community Development Financial Institutions or CDFIs. Since Southern’s founding, it has lent more than $4 billion to provide our customers with responsible and affordable credit, as well as products designed to meet the needs of borrowers in distressed markets.
The Southern Bancorp organisation consists of three entities, all U.S. Treasury certified Community Development Financial Institutions (CDFIs) – Southern Bancorp, Inc., a bank holding company; Southern Bancorp Community Partners, a development finance and lending organisation; and Southern Bancorp Bank, one of America’s largest rural development banks.
Collectively known as, Southern Bancorp, it is today a $1.1 billion asset organisation with over 80,000 customers and 41 branches located primarily in underserved markets like Southern Arkansas and the Mississippi Delta. Southern’s growth and strength can be attributed to its commitment to sustainably providing responsible, responsive and innovative financial products and financial development services that create real economic opportunity driven by building an individual’s net worth. It is this core belief that drives the Southern’s efforts as studies have shown that as individuals build net worth, economic opportunity is not only created for them, but for the next generation as well.
- Darrin Williams, Chief Executive Officer, Southern Bancorp, Inc.
- Chris Wewers, Chief Financial Officer, Southern Bancorp, Inc.
- Dominik Mjartan, Executive Vice President, Southern Bancorp, Inc.
- John Olaimey, President & Chief Executive Officer, Southern Bancorp Bank
Market Focus, Products and Services
Since its founding, the Southern Bancorp’s focus has always been the rural communities of the American Mid-South, primarily within the Arkansas and Mississippi Delta, one of the nation’s most economically distressed areas. Southern concentrates efforts to increase individual net worth focus on three specific goals that help create a roadmap for success.
- Entrepreneurship – Small business is the primary driver for Southern’s markets, and our comprehensive approach to entrepreneurial development and affordable, flexible business lending enables the success of locally-owned businesses, resulting in job creation. Southern does this through small business loans, entrepreneurial education, and workforce development services. Our ten-year-goal is to support the creation of 100,000 jobs in our target markets.
- Housing – Many of the rural, low to moderate income communities in Southern’s markets suffer from a lack of affordable, quality and safe housing options. Southern supports housing through affordable mortgages, housing counseling and flexible financing of affordable rental homes. Its ten-year goal is to support 10,000 people in attaining and sustaining affordable housing.
- Savings – To become economically empowered, families must move beyond the paycheck-to-paycheck lifestyle with a savings strategy that allows them to focus on goals such as, going to college or buying a home. Southern supports savings through financial education and credit counseling, no or low-fee checking and savings accounts, matched savings accounts, and free tax preparation services. Its ten-year-goal is to empower 1,000,000 people to create a savings strategy and build their assets.