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Little Rock, Ark. – Southern Bancorp Inc., one of the nation’s largest Community Development Financial Institutions (CDFI) as well as the model upon which the CDFI industry was founded, has announced that Ms. Donna J. Gambrell, the longest serving director of the U.S. Treasury’s CDFI Fund and first African American woman selected for that position, has been appointed to its board of directors.

“Southern Bancorp’s mission to increase economic opportunity by building net worth in underserved communities calls for passionate and experienced leadership at the board level,” said Dr. Glen Jones, Southern Bancorp, Inc.’s Board Chairman. “There are few individuals in this country who possess an institutional knowledge of CDFIs that is on par with Ms. Gambrell, who over the course of her six-year-tenure oversaw significant growth in the CDFI Fund as well as the creation of a number of new initiatives targeting underserved communities. Her experience in the CDFI industry and as a former bank regulator will be invaluable to our growth.”

Prior to leading the CDFI Fund, Ms. Gambrell served in several leadership positions within the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC), including Deputy Director for Compliance and Consumer Protection, where she oversaw the FDIC’s national compliance bank examinations, as well as the agency’s community affairs, consumer affairs, and deposit insurance programs.

“I am honored to have been named as a board member to Southern Bancorp, a community development financial institution (CDFI) that has played a critical role in providing affordable capital, credit, and financial services to low-wealth communities in the mid-South for almost three decades,” said Ms. Gambrell. “I have been impressed by the bank’s commitment to mission and impact, and by the leadership and vision of Board Chair Glen Jones, CEO, Darrin Williams, and the entire Southern Bancorp team. I look forward to supporting the bank in its continuing efforts to transform rural communities.”

Ms. Gambrell presently serves as a visiting scholar at the Federal Reserve Bank of Atlanta, where she advises Federal Reserve leadership, economists, community stakeholders, and policy-makers on community development-related initiatives.

Southern Bancorp, Inc., a bank holding company; Southern Bancorp Community Partners, a development finance and lending organization; and Southern Bancorp Bank, one of America’s largest rural development banks were founded in 1986 by then Governor Bill Clinton, Walmart Chair Rob Walton, the Winthrop Rockefeller Foundation and others 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 $1.1 billion in assets, 80,000 customers at its 41 branches 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.
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