For Immediate Release
Arkadelphia, Ark. – Southern Bancorp, Inc., a Community Development Financial Institution (CDFI) and holding company for Southern Bancorp Bank, today announced it has entered into a merger agreement to acquire DeWitt First Bankshares Corporation and its wholly owned subsidiary, Arkansas County Bank, a $185 million asset bank with two branches in Arkansas County (DeWitt and Stuttgart) and one in Sevier County (Lockesburg).
“We are excited to introduce Arkansas County Bank’s team members, customers, and communities to Southern Bancorp’s unique blend of mission-driven products and services aimed at providing everyone in the community with the tools to build wealth,” said Southern Bancorp CEO Darrin Williams. “As one of America’s oldest and largest CDFIs, we are driven by our mission to increase economic opportunity and build individual net worth through traditional banking products and services combined with financial development offerings such as financial education, credit and homebuyer counseling, and free tax preparation among others.”
Southern Bancorp’s unique organizational structure and demand-driven financial products and services support its focus on being wealth builders for everyone in the community. The “Southern” organization consists of three separate CDFIs working together for a common mission, including Southern Bancorp, Inc., a bank holding company; Southern Bancorp Bank, a $1.7 billion asset community development bank, and Southern Bancorp Community Partners, a 501(c)(3) development finance and lending organization. Arkansas County Bank’s customers and communities will be served by all three entities to ensure that wherever one is on the economic ladder, they have the tools to succeed.
“We are excited to join the Southern Bancorp family,” said Warren Jennings, Jr., President and CEO at Arkansas County Bank. “For over 110 years, our bank has believed in a community-centric approach to banking, and Southern Bancorp’s nationally recognized focus on offering a wide range of unique tools to serve the community is a perfect fit for our organization and those we serve. We look forward to joining in their mission.”
The acquisition, which is subject to regulatory and shareholder approval, is expected to close in the second quarter of 2021 and will increase the number of Southern Bancorp locations across Arkansas and Mississippi to 52. Stephens Inc. served as financial advisor and Friday, Eldredge & Clark, LLP served as legal advisor to Southern Bancorp, Inc. in connection with the transaction. Olsen Palmer LLC served as financial advisor to DeWitt First Bankshares Corporation while Dover Dixon Horne, PLLC served as legal advisor. Terms of the transaction are not being disclosed.
About Southern Bancorp, Inc.
Founded in 1986 by some of the nation’s leading political, business, and philanthropic leaders with an initial investment of $10 million, Southern Bancorp, Inc., along with its development partners – Southern Bancorp Bank and Southern Bancorp Community Partners, has grown into a $1.7 billion asset organization with 52 locations serving 65,000 customers across two states with a unique array of financial products and services designed to help individuals at all stages of life’s financial journey – from teaching kids how to save to helping entrepreneurs and families realize the American Dream. Southern Bancorp is a certified Community Financial Development Institution, certified B-Corp, and proud member of the Global Alliance for Banking on Values. Learn more at www.BankSouthern.com and www.SouthernPartners.org.
About DeWitt First Bankshares Corporation
Arkansas County Bank, the wholly-owned banking subsidiary of DeWitt First Bankshares Corporation, was founded in 1912 and serves the primary markets of Arkansas, Prairie, Lonoke, Sevier, Little River, and Howard Counties in Arkansas and McCurtain County in Oklahoma out of branch locations in DeWitt, Lockesburg and Stuttgart, Arkansas.
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