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HERNANDO — Southern Bancorp executives and employees broke ground recently for the bank’s full-service LEED-certified branch in Hernando.

The branch at 790 Byhalia Road is scheduled to open in early 2011.

Southern currently has two loan production offices in DeSoto County — one in Hernando and the other in Southaven.

Alan Sims, Southern’s DeSoto County president, said the Hernando groundbreaking signifies Southern’s commitment to expand its operations to meet customers’ needs.

Southern currently serves more than 80,000 customers through 45 branches located in rural communities from Northeast Arkansas to the Mississippi Gulf Coast.