Southern Bancorp Experiments with Apps for the Underbanked

American Banker
Monday, September 22, 2014

Southern Bancorp in Arkadelphia, Ark. is using mobile technology to offer consumers outside the mainstream a better alternative to payday loans. "The product that strips more wealth and assets from the most vulnerable people in America is predatory lending or payday lending," says Dominik Mjartan, senior vice president of the bank. But payday products have a stubborn appeal; regulatory constraints and disclosure requirements make it difficult for banks to compete with their speed. Now, Southern is closing the convenience gap with a new core-processing system and app developed with help from a company it helped create, Smiley Technologies. Among the app's features are real-time transaction processing and on-demand account information.