WASHINGTON – US Senators Blanche Lincoln and Mark Pryor and US Representative Marion Berry Friday announced that Southern Bancorp in Helena-West Helena has been selected to receive $700,000 through the US Treasury Department’s Bank Enterprise Award (BEA) Program. The funds will help First Bank provide affordable home mortgages, affordable housing development loans, education loans, and small business loans.

“All Arkansans deserve the chance to achieve their goals, whether they aim to own a home, run a small business, or go back to school. These funds will help east Arkansas residents gain easier access to loans and mortgages for housing or education needs. As a native of Helena-West Helena, I’m particularly pleased to announce these federal funds, and I remain committed to ensuring our state has the support and resources we need to support our local communities,” said Lincoln.