With the acceptance of a $4,000 check and a handshake between a local small business owner and loan officer Nathaniel Owen on March 20, Scottie Smith became the first loan recipient from Accion’s Phillips County office in Helena. Mindy Maupin of Southern Bancorp’s Community Partners referred Smith to Accion.

Smith’s love of the outdoors and his fondness for yard work led him to establish his own handyman and lawn service, which he says he does “well.” He used the loan to buy a work truck. Key to his success as a small business owner, Smith hopes the loan also will establish a payment record that will help him reestablish his credit.