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LITTLE ROCK, ARK. – Southern Bancorp today announced the promotion of Thomas “Hunter” Deweese to SBA (Small Business Administration) President after previously serving as Senior SBA Agricultural Lending Officer for the Community Development Financial Institution. In this new role, Deweese will lead the SBA team, develop new loan programs, and oversee loan growth and credit quality. Randy Ratcliff, who has led the bank’s SBA Team since 2017 is transitioning to an advisory role as of January 1 and will continue as a valuable member of Southern Bancorp’s SBA Team.

“I am excited about this new opportunity to lead Southern Bancorp’s efforts to help families, farmers, and small businesses access the capital they need to grow and build wealth,” said Deweese. “I also join the entire SBA team in thanking Randy Ratcliff for his mentorship and ongoing guidance and support. I look forward to continuing and building upon the track record of outstanding service he has created within our organization.”

A Fayetteville native, Deweese graduated from the University of Arkansas in 2005. He has worked in lending for the past 15 years and has been a tremendous asset since joining the Southern Bancorp team in 2017. His experience and knowledge base were key in the development of the bank’s SBA poultry loan program and the SBA team as a whole.

In addition to his role at Southern Bancorp, Deweese is active in the community and the poultry industry. Having previously served on the board of the Arkansas Community Foundation, Deweese is currently a member of the Northwest Arkansas United Way, as well as the Arkansas, Oklahoma and Missouri Poultry Federations. He and his wife Leanne have two boys, ages 12 and 9.

“We are excited to have Hunter serve in this new role, and we look forward to the economic impact the SBA lending team will have on small businesses and communities under his leadership,” said Darrin Williams, Southern Bancorp, Inc. CEO. “On behalf of the entire Southern team, I also want to thank Randy Ratcliff for his leadership in growing this highly impactful segment of our organization, and his ongoing commitment to mentorship. His legacy of supporting thousands of small businesses, from poultry farmers to Paycheck Protection Program participants, is one of long-lasting impact, and we are grateful to him for guiding those efforts and continuing to mentor the next generation of SBA lenders serving the Mid-South and beyond.”

About Southern Bancorp

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 a group of business, political and philanthropic leaders who were concerned about the economic decline of rural Arkansas. All three entities are U.S. Treasury certified Community Development Financial Institutions (CDFIs) collectively known as “Southern.” With $1.7 billion in assets, 65,000 customers and 49 locations in Arkansas and Mississippi, Southern invests in people and businesses in rural communities; empowers them to improve their lives; and helps them transform their communities. Southern is a Certified B Corp, Benefit Corporation, and proud member of the Global Alliance for Banking on Values. Learn more about Southern on the web at &