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Baldwin honored with reception
Dozens of people, some of them damp or soaked from having faced heavy rains, made it to the main branch of Southern Bancorp on Thursday evening to wish Phil Baldwin the best in his retirement as the bank’s president and CEO.
From 4-6 p.m., the Main Street bank’s lobby was wall-to-wall crammed with Baldwin’s friends, some of whom traveled from as far away as California. U.S. Congressman Mike Ross also made an appearance.
Baldwin, who joined the Arkadelphia bank in 2000 when it was still Elk Horn Bank, announced his retirement earlier this year, citing his wishes to spend more time with family and to pursue philanthropic interests.
About halfway into the reception, some offered kind words and friendly jabs at Baldwin for his departure.
Sherman Tate, chairman of the bank’s board, said he knew the board made the right decision to hire Baldwin as the bank’s chief. He noted that Elk Horn was a $252 million bank earning a $427,000 profit in 2000 when Baldwin was hired and, upon his leaving the bank, now called Southern Bancorp, it has increased to a $1.1 billion bank with a net profit of $9 million.
Baldwin, Tate said, “played not only an integral part in banking … but also as a developer” for Clark County and in the Helena-West Helena area.
“Yes, he’s going to be missed.”
Other stories and words were spoken by Scott Fife, the bank’s new CEO; Bill Wright, the bank’s regional president; and Congressman Ross, who presented Baldwin with a flag that had flown over the nation’s capitol.
For complete biographical information about Baldwin, visit https://banksouthern. com/mission/our-leadership/#a1