Acquisition is part of plan to grow services in financially underserved
communities in the Mid-South
Arkadelphia, Ark. – Southern Bancorp, Inc., a Community Development Financial Institution (“CDFI”) and holding company for Southern Bancorp Bank, today announced it had entered into an agreement to acquire Farmers Bank, a $42 million asset institution operating in the Ashley County community of Hamburg, Ark. Southern currently operates 44 locations in Arkansas and Mississippi, including a branch in the neighboring Chicot County community of Eudora. Under the terms of the agreement, Southern Bancorp will acquire Farmers Bank for approximately $4.5 million paid in a combination of cash and common stock in Southern.
“The Hamburg community fits well into the Southern Bancorp target market, said Southern Bancorp CEO Darrin Williams. “We look forward to bringing our unique brand of banking to the area, which combines traditional banking products and services with financial development offerings such as financial education, credit and homebuyer counseling, and free tax preparation among others.”
Jack Shell, Chairman of the Board at Farmers Bank said, “Our shareholders are excited to join the Southern Bancorp family, not only because of what it will mean for our customers in terms of new products and services, but also because of Southern Bancorp’s mission focus, which will be a great asset to our community.”
As a CDFI, Southern Bancorp was founded with a primary focus to create economic opportunity through increased access to capital and financial empowerment services in financially underserved communities. The acquisition of Farmers Bank aligns with that mission and is representative of a larger growth plan aimed at increasing Southern Bancorp’s footprint in communities with limited financial access.
“There are many communities in rural Arkansas and beyond with unmet financial needs, either because of a general lack of financial services or limited capacity of small banks under an increasing regulatory burden or lack of management succession. While these communities may be underserved, many will perfectly align with our mission, and we intend to focus on growing our presence where it’s needed most,” said Williams.
Bruce Timmons, a Hamburg resident with 43 years of banking experience currently serves as Southern Bancorp’s Market President for Eudora and will assume responsibility for the Hamburg market. Additionally, Kenny Allbritton, the current Farmers Bank President, will stay on in a leadership capacity following the merger.
Southern Bancorp, Inc., a bank holding company; Southern Bancorp Community Partners, a tax exempt lending and development organization; and Southern Bancorp Bank, one of America’s largest rural development banks were founded in 1986 by then Governor Bill Clinton, Wal-Mart Chair Rob Walton, the Winthrop Rockefeller Foundation and others who were concerned about the economic decline of rural Arkansas. All three are U.S. Treasury certified Community Development Financial Institutions (CDFIs) collectively known as “Southern.” With $1.2 billion in assets, 80,000 customers at its 44 locations in Arkansas and Mississippi. On the web at banksouthern.com & southernpartners.org.