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Capital will aid growth and mission-driven goal to improve financial inclusion in rural America

Investors include national and international funds, regional banks and families

LITTLE ROCK, AR – A diverse group of investors, representing global institutional investors, regional financial institutions, foundations and family offices comprise the first closing of Southern Bancorp’s capital campaign with a combined investment commitment of $17.75 million.

Southern Bancorp, a certified Community Development Financial Institution (CDFI), is providing a unique value proposition to which the capital markets have reacted positively: that a mission-driven financial institution serving underserved and economically distressed communities can provide both a financial and social return on investment. Enclude Capital Advisory assisted in the transaction.

“The make-up of our initial round of investors illustrates the broad range of investment interest in strengthening the role of well-performing community banks,” said Darrin Williams, Southern Bancorp’s Chief Executive Officer. “From global funds looking to support distressed American communities, to regional financial institutions seeking to share in our CRA benefits, to families looking for opportunities to support the communities they hold dear, these investors have all joined in our mission to create economic opportunity where it’s needed most in a way that provides both a return of and on capital.”

First round capital campaign investors include:

  • Simmons First National Corporation,
  • BancorpSouth Bank,
  • Prudential Impact Investments Private Equity LLC,
  • Sustainability Finance for Real Economies (SFRE) investment fund,
  • Founding Southern board member and former chief of staff to President Clinton, Mack McLarty,
  • Co-Founder and Vice-Chair of McLarty Capital Partners, Franklin McLarty,
  • Wittington Portland Murdoch Limited Partnership, and
  • 100% of the directors and executive officers of Southern Bancorp.

Southern Bancorp has a proven record of delivering consistent profitability in rural and minority communities characterized by persistent poverty and a lack of financial access. Since 1988, they have originated over $4 billion in loans through 46 branches and loan production offices in Arkansas and Mississippi, offering a combination of products and services designed to support pathways to prosperity.

“We will use this growth capital to expand our impact into new markets. There is considerable need throughout the American Mid-South for our unique brand of financial development and access,” said Williams. “As we continue growing, we look forward to engagement from a growing base of investors interested in pursuing strategies that put capital to work for themselves and disinvested communities.”

Southern Bancorp, Inc., a bank holding company; Southern Bancorp Community Partners, a 501(c)(3) development finance and lending organization; and Southern Bancorp Bank, one of America’s largest rural development banks; were founded in 1986 by political, business and philanthropic leaders concerned about the economic decline of rural Arkansas. On the web at