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.
Darrin Williams, CEO of Southern Bancorp, was recently interviewed on the Your Mark on the World Podcast, and the footage is featured on Forbes. Williams discussed his bank's mission and strategy, saying, "Often our competition is not another bank; [it is] a payday lender or pawn shop, or someone who provides alternative forms of capital or credit that really strip wealth. So we really do a lot of outreach. We don't wait for people to come to the bank. We take the bank to them."
Darrin Williams' recent opinion piece in the Arkansas Gazette extols the virtue of the Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC) program for low-income families and advocates for the passage of the Working Families Opportunity Act, which would create a statewide EITC program to accompany the federal program. Southern Bancorp, like many CDBA members participates in the Volunteer Income Tax Assistance program (VITA). Southern employees volunteer because they know that it supports their mission of creating economic opportunity for those who need it most.
CDBA Members are consistently on the cutting edge of new opportunities to maximize and publish the social impact that they are having in local communities across the country. Therefore it is fitting that City First Bank & Southern Bancorp are two of the first institutional members to join Mighty, a new platform that will help "small but powerful" banks to connect with potential depositors or investors, especially among the Millennial demographic, who are seeking a bank that makes a positive social impact.