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Funds support consumer access to financial institutions and help provide alternatives to high-interest microloans in un- and under-banked communities

Little Rock, Ark.Southern Bancorp Bank, a Community Development Financial Institution (CDFI), has announced an award of $383,223 from the CDFI Fund’s Small Dollar Loan (SDL) Program, an extension of the U.S. Department of the Treasury. Launched in fiscal year 2021, the SDL Program distributes award funding to qualified, Certified CDFIs to help address the vital need to expand consumer access to mainstream financial institutions, particularly in underserved communities, and provide these areas with alternatives to high-cost small dollar loans.

“We are grateful to the U.S. Treasury for awarding this Small Dollar Loan funding to Southern Bancorp and CDFIs like us to help broaden our collective impacts for the communities we serve,” said Darrin Williams, CEO of Southern Bancorp, Inc. “Strengthening under-resourced communities with access to responsive and responsible capital is part of our purpose at Southern Bancorp, and we have a proven track record of putting resources like this to work for the people and places that need it most.”

Southern Bancorp is among 66 Certified CDFIs that were awarded SDL funding during the current program term, which totaled $18 million in distributed awards from the CDFI Fund. Awarded institutions will now use these grant dollars to support their efforts to help un- and under-banked populations build credit, access affordable capital, and open more entryways into the financial system so as to both create more paths to financial opportunity for more people and deter demand for predatory microlenders. According to the U.S. Department of the Treasury, around 25 percent of American households either do not have a bank account or rely on payday lenders and check-cashing outlets to pay for their expenses.

“These important awards enable more Certified CDFIs to offer alternatives to costly payday lenders. Notably, 32 percent of all award funds went to Certified CDFIs headquartered in persistent poverty counties, exceeding the statutory requirement by over threefold,” said CDFI Fund Director Pravina Raghavan. “With a quarter of unbanked or underbanked American households, our program aims to broaden access to affordable financial products and services. These awards significantly boost access to small dollar loans in underserved communities.”

To learn more about the SDL program and see the full list of this program round’s awardees, visit


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 $2.6 billion asset organization with 56 locations serving more than 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 member of the Global Alliance for Banking on Values. Learn more at and