Southern Bancorp, Inc. is one of America’s largest rural development banks with approximately $1.1 billion in assets, serving over 80,000 customers at 39 branches in both Arkansas and Mississippi. Southern was founded in 1986 by then Governor Bill Clinton, Wal-Mart Chair Rob Walton, the Winthrop Rockefeller Foundation and others who were concerned about the economic decline of rural Arkansas. Southern invests in people and businesses in rural communities, empowers them to improve their lives and helps them transform their communities.
During the long government shutdown, Southern Bancorp announced that it would provide assistance to affected customers by waiving overdraft fees and providing immediate access to a no fee, no credit check, zero interest loan of up to $1,500. Emergency loans were stated to be payable within six months or upon the resumption of government operations. "Southern Bancorp stands ready to assist our customers in this stressful time," said Darrin Williams, Southern Bancorp CEO.
In Arkansas, one in 10 households currently do not have a bank account. Because of this, most families rely on expensive services to access their money and to monthly bills. Luckily, a new program called Bank on Arkansas+ is working to expand access to banking in these underserved communities. Southern Bancorp is one of the leading institutions helping launch the program with their new Opportunity Card. Watch the news report here.
Little Rock, Arkansas based Southern Bancorp has made a successful business model out of serving places larger banks ignore. Bill Wright, a Little Rock native who leads the Bank's western region, proudly rattles off the names of business owners the bank has supported. Recently, as the bank seeks to expand into further markets in the area, it received $7.5 million from SFRE, a group of global investors interested in banks with a social mission.