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Arkansas Enterprise Group is Now Southern Financial Partners

Press Release – October 15, 2001

Arkansas Enterprise Group announced today that it will change its name to Southern Financial Partners, effective immediately. Southern Financial Partners is a non-profit affiliate of Southern Development Bancorporation, an Arkansas-based community development bank holding company.

The name Southern Financial Partners was chosen to support future growth as the company expands outside its current Arkansas service area by moving into the Mississippi Delta and to emphasize the importance of partnerships. In addition to partnering with businesses to stimulate economic development, Southern Financial Partners teams with banks and other economic development groups to help provide financing to small businesses.

Southern Financial Partners has provided $26 million in development loans and financial assistance to small businesses, creating or saving more than 6,000 jobs. They have offices in Arkadelphia, Helena, Marianna and Stuttgart, Ark.

The current management and staff will continue to serve customers. “The name change will have no effect on our everyday operations or our focus and commitment to small businesses,” explains says Deborah Slayton, executive director of Southern Financial Partners.

“We felt it was important for our name to more accurately reflect our focus on providing financial services to small businesses that stimulate economic development,” says Slayton. “We view ourselves as a partner of not only small business, but other economic development agencies who we work with to accomplish this mission.”

As the parent company, Southern Development Bancorporation, expands in Arkansas and the Mississippi Delta, Southern Financial Partners will follow. “Our mission is to help revitalize rural economies by providing loans and financial business assistance to small businesses,” explains Slayton.

Southern Development Bancorporation is a $350 million development banking organization that offers a full line of financial products and economic development services to residents in rural Arkansas and the Mississippi Delta. The services include: bank credit, low-income housing development, small business assistance, “non-bank” lending, work force training, asset building and advocacy for the poor.

Southern Development has offices in Arkadelphia, Clarendon, Helena, Marianna, Pine Bluff and Stuttgart, Arkansas and Drew, Friars Point, Lambert, Lula, Ruleville and Sledge, Mississippi.

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