Southern Bancorp Funds Rural Revitalization
Reversing an industry trend of decreased rural lending, Southern Bancorp's 2013 annual report shows lending growth to $742 million, including 562 small business loans and microloans. Among customers profiled is Robert Heard, founder of Trumann, Ark.-based cabinet manufacturer Tru-Cab. As a young man, Heard worked at the Singer sewing machine factory by day and in his garage cabinet workshop by night. With Southern's help, Heard left Singer to open a Tru-Cab, a small shop which soon prospered. In the 1980's, the Singer factory closed and the building was vacant for years. Now, with financing from Southern, Heard is returning to the Singer factory -- which is the new manufacturing headquarters for Tru-Cab.