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Little Rock, Ark. – Southern Bancorp, Inc., a Community Development Financial Institution, today announced Michelle Hood as its Director of Product and Customer Experience, a new role that will be integral as it expands its mission and impact to more markets throughout the South.

“Michelle has spent many years elevating the experiences of customers for some of the country’s largest companies, and we are thrilled that she has joined our team,” said Will Lambe, Chief Strategy Officer. “As we continue to grow our footprint and reach, it’s important for us to do so in innovative ways that blend our unique mission with a competitive slate of products that help people build wealth while also enhancing our overall customer experience. Michelle’s leadership, expertise, and passion align perfectly with those ambitions.”

Hood brings to Southern Bancorp more than a decade of experience driving complex product strategies across Fortune 500 companies. Most recently, she served as Group Product Manager, Enterprise Product Management for The Home Depot, a role in which she led speed-to-market on technical product releases for the company’s highest priority strategies. Prior to this, she engaged in product innovations at Walmart, Inc., first as Senior Product Manager, Item File Development and later as Principal Product Manager, Associate Experience, during this time deploying software, data, and computer vision applications to over 2.5 million users supporting omni-retail operations. Hood has acquired a passion for community development through her previous entrepreneurship development work in North Carolina and her early years in Arkansas.

In her new role with Southern Bancorp, Hood will direct, update, and expand its products, services, and experiences for consumer and commercial customers in both new and existing markets. The newly created position aims to bolster the CDFI’s agility as a mission-focused financial institution, which will be pivotal as it grows into additional underserved communities.

“I am beyond excited to be joining the Southern Bancorp team, mission, and culture,” said Michelle Hood. “Putting customers first through innovative ideas, complex strategies, and data-driven solutions has been the point around which the bulk of my career has revolved, and I’m honored for the opportunity to do this work for an institution that uses those methods and metrics to bridge wealth gaps and create equitable financial opportunities for the people and places it serves.”  

Hood is a graduate of Loyola University Chicago where she studied Marketing and Communications. She earned her Master of Business Administration in Entrepreneurship at Western Carolina University in Cullowhee, N.C., and she has obtained industry certifications in Product and Project Management.


About Southern Bancorp
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 $2.5 billion asset organization with 56 locations serving 65,000 customers across two states. Southern Bancorp has 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 Development Financial Institution, certified B-Corp, and proud member of the Global Alliance for Banking on Values. Learn more at and