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Little Rock, Ark.Southern Bancorp, Inc., a Community Development Financial Institution (CDFI), today announced the hiring of Lydia Smith as its Director of Mortgage Production. Smith is based out of Memphis, Tenn., but will serve the CDFI’s entire footprint as it expands its mortgage efforts throughout the South.

“We are so excited to welcome Lydia to the Southern Bancorp mortgage team,” said Jeremy Davis, President of Mortgage. “Her wealth of knowledge, expertise, and track record of providing fair and affordable housing for minority families and underserved communities will be invaluable as we expand our mortgage reach and deliver more homeownership opportunities to more families throughout the region.”

Smith brings decades of industry experience to the role, most recently serving as VP of Diversity Lending with InQlusion Mortgage Capital, a full-service, diversity-focused home lending company serving the southeast United States. Prior to this, Smith was the Community Development Manager for FirstBank Forward, where her team was awarded the 2020 National Mortgage Bankers Association’s Diversity & Inclusion Award for market outreach strategies that promoted fair lending and minority housing needs. Smith was also instrumental in introducing a City of Memphis Down Payment Assistance Program granting up to $25,000 for homebuyers, as well as in increasing the Shelby County Down Payment Assistance Program benefit to $6,000.

In her new role with Southern Bancorp, Smith will execute mission-driven business strategies to maximize the growth and development of the CDFI’s mortgage team, a division focused on helping individuals and families build wealth through homeownership, with an emphasis on minority and marginalized communities.

“I am thrilled to be joining the Southern Bancorp team, especially at such an exciting time of growth for this mortgage division,” said Smith. “Bridging the housing gap and helping families build generational wealth through homeownership has long been a guiding passion of mine, and it’s an honor to join a mission-focused organization that for nearly 40 years has been dedicated to these same efforts.”

Smith earned Bachelor of Science degrees in Finance and Biology as well as a Master of Business Administration at Union University in Tennessee. She is a long-time member of the National Association of Real Estate Brokers (NAREB), one of the oldest trade associations in the United States, which operates with a mission to advocate, collaborate, educate, and legislate for democracy in housing.

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