Award will provide support to entrepreneurs and small businesses in Arkansas and Mississippi

Little Rock, Ark. – Southern Bancorp Inc., one of the nation’s largest Community Development Financial Institutions (CDFI), announced today that it has been awarded $2 million, the maximum available under the Financial Assistance program of the U.S. Treasury’s CDFI Fund. The competitive awards, which are presented after a rigorous evaluation based on a CDFI’s abilities and success in providing financial access to underserved communities, totaled just over $200 million to 195 organizations.

“We are honored to have been chosen as a 2015 CDFI Fund award recipient,” said Darrin Williams, CEO of Southern Bancorp, Inc. “This award will be used to further Southern’s mission of creating economic opportunity by increasing lending capacity in our communities, with a focus on providing much-needed financing to entrepreneurs who are growing their businesses and creating jobs.”

The annual financial awards are one of the ways that the CDFI Fund fulfills its purpose of investing in CDFIs by helping them build capacity and serve underserved communities who lack access to responsible and responsive financial services. As one of the nation’s first financial institutions to be designated as a CDFI, Southern Bancorp has a long history of working with the Fund to ensure financial access to its communities in Arkansas and Mississippi.

“For three decades, Southern Bancorp has served some of rural America’s most economically distressed communities, not only because it is our mission, but because we believe that those communities – and the families living within them – matter,” said Williams. “This award will provide additional resources to help entrepreneurs get off the ground, help existing businesses grow, and help families build the net worth necessary to create generational financial strength.”

To learn more about the 2015 CDFI Fund awards, visit www.CDFIfund.gov.

About Southern Bancorp

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 39 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. Learn more on the web at banksouthern.com & southernpartners.org.

About the CDFI Fund

Since its creation in 1994, the CDFI Fund has awarded more than $2 billion to CDFIs, community development organizations, and financial institutions through the CDFI Program, the NACA Program, the Bank Enterprise Award Program, the Capital Magnet Fund, and the Financial Education and Counseling Pilot Program. In addition, the CDFI Fund has allocated $43.5 billion in tax credit allocation authority to Community Development Entities through the New Markets Tax Credit Program, and $525 million has been guaranteed in bonds through the CDFI Bond Guarantee Program.

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