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.
Financial giant JPMorgan Chase has increased its direct equity investments in Minority Depository Institutions and Community Development Financial Institutions to $100 million and has added 10 new institutions as recipients. JPMorgan Chase has announced investments in the following Black- and Latino- led MDIs and CDFIs: Arkadelphia, Arkansas-based Southern Bancorp; Savannah, Georgia-based Carver State Bank; Atlanta-based Citizens Trust Bank; Baltimore-based The Harbor Bank of Maryland; Detroit-based First Independence Bank; Columbia, South Carolina-based Optus Bank; McAllen, Texas-based Rio Bank; Houston-based Unity National Bank; Washington, D.C.-based Industrial Bank; and Miami-based Sunstate Bank. JPMorgan Chase’s latest round of direct equity investments more than doubles the $50 million it originally pledged to invest in MDIs and CDFIs. The bank's initial round of investments, which was dispersed earlier this year, included the holding companies for New Orleans-based Liberty Bank and Trust; Durham, North Carolina-based M&F Bank; New York City-based Carver Federal Savings Bank; and Los Angeles-based Broadway Federal Bank.
The U.S. Department of the Treasury's Community Development Financial Institutions Fund (CDFI Fund) announced $5 billion in New Markets Tax Credits today that will spur investment and economic growth in low-income urban and rural communities nationwide. A total of 100 Community Development Entities (CDEs) were awarded tax credit allocations, made through the calendar year (CY) 2020 round of the New Markets Tax Credit Program. The 7 CDBA member banks receiving awards were Central Bank of Kansas City, The Harbor Bank of Maryland, Peoples Bank, Legacy Bank & Trust, Sunrise Banks, Southern Bancorp, and United Bank.
While they aren't synonymous—although there is some overlap between the two categories—community development financial institutions and minority depository institutions have common roots in a shared historical purpose. “The roots of the CDFI banking sector began with the minority depository institutions,” says Jeannine Jacokes, chief executive of the Community Development Bankers Association. “In the early 20th century, when it was legal to refuse service to a customer on the basis of race, Black business people began organizing financial institutions that were Black-owned and committed to serving Black customers—and as populations of other communities of color grew, the diversity of the minority depository institutions grew as well.” Southern Bancorp and Bank of Anguilla are mentioned.