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Former legislator and city official will help lead business development and community outreach for the mission-focused bank

Little Rock, Ark. – Southern Bancorp, Inc., a Community Development Financial Institution (CDFI), today announced the hiring of Charles Blake as its Little Rock Market Executive, following the opening of its first bank branch in the capital city earlier this year.

“We are thrilled to welcome Charles Blake to our mission-focused team,” said Darrin Williams, CEO of Southern Bancorp, Inc. “When we first expanded our mission to Little Rock, we did so with an intentionality to reach deep into underserved and under-resourced communities to create more pathways to opportunity for our neighbors. Selecting Charles to fill this role, with his extensive background in public service and relationship-building, will enable us to make even more of a positive impact for families and small businesses in Central Arkansas.”

Charles brings years of financial and community engagement experience to the role with Southern Bancorp. After earning his Bachelor’s in political science at Grinnell College in Iowa, the Little Rock Central High alum returned to Little Rock, first in the banking sector with Regions Bank and later Morgan Keegan & Co, and most recently working as a consultant for Think Rubix. In 2015, he was elected to the Arkansas House of Representatives from the 36th District, where he would serve three terms. Following his time as an elected official, Blake served as Little Rock Mayor Frank Scott Jr.’s Chief of Staff.

In his new role with Southern Bancorp, Blake will plan, direct, and implement business development and community outreach initiatives in and around Little Rock for the CDFI.

“I’ve long respected the work that Southern Bancorp does for its communities, and it’s an honor to now be part of such an impactful and historic financial institution,” said Charles Blake. “Serving the public has always been a guiding motivator throughout my career, which in a lot of ways feels like it has come full circle by joining the Southern Bancorp team. I look forward to leveraging my experience with the bank’s tools and resources to make a meaningful difference for the people of my hometown.”

One of America’s oldest and largest community development banks, Southern Bancorp blends traditional banking products with a slate of financial development services beyond the typical banking mold. The institution’s unique structure supports its ability to balance margin and mission effectively while also expanding that mission to new markets. The organization consists of three distinct CDFIs working together, including Southern Bancorp, Inc., a bank holding company; Southern Bancorp Bank, a community development bank; and Southern Bancorp Community Partners, a 501(c)(3) nonprofit loan fund. Southern Bancorp’s customers and communities are served by all three certified CDFIs, which together provide the full scope of access, support, and resources.

Blake is a six-time honoree on Arkansas Business’ “Arkansas 250” listing of the state’s most influential leaders and in 2022 was selected to Arkansas Money and Politics’ “Future 50” and “Top 100 Professionals” lists.

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