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 was already out sick for a few days — not Coronavirus-related — when Minneapolis police officers killed George Floyd. Williams, who is Black, has a 21-year-old son and a 20-year-old daughter. “Every Black parent has to have that conversation about the police with their kids,” he says. He is also the CEO of Southern Bancorp, a bank with $1.5 billion in assets, serving small cities and rural areas of Arkansas and the Mississippi Delta region. Banks didn’t create systemic racism by themselves, and they won’t solve it by themselves. But banks have played an important role in creating and sustaining systemic racism, and Williams still believes they can play a role in ending it.
Forbes partnered with market research firm Statista to produce their second annual look at the Best Banks In Each State to gauge whose customers gave their banks the highest grades. Nearly 25,000 customers in the U.S. were surveyed for their opinions on their current and former banking relationships. Southern Bancorp and BankPlus were named among the best banks in their states.
Applications officially opened on April 3 for the new Paycheck Protection Program loans guaranteed by the Small Business Administration. The program is intended to help small businesses keep or rehire employees to get through at least part of the economic disruption from COVID-19. All or most of each loan can be forgiven, based on whether borrowers maintain employee levels they had before the economic disruption from the virus took hold. Serving small cities and towns and rural parts of Arkansas and the Mississippi Delta, Southern Bancorp was already approving and wiring Paycheck Protection Program loans to borrowers back on April 3. Sunrise Banks and Beneficial State Bank are also mentioned in the article.