Press Release – March 13, 2002

Southern Financial Partners (SFP) has received a $160,000 grant from the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Rural Development.

The grant will be used to capitalize a loan fund that will help finance businesses in thirteen counties in eastern Arkansas creating new jobs and providing access to over $1 million in capital to the economically distressed region.

“USDA has been a long-time partner of Southern Financial Partners and a great resource to the state of Arkansas,” says Paul Shuffield, development associate at SFP.

Southern Financial Partners has provided more than $30 million in development financing and financial assistance to small businesses in Arkansas, creating or saving more than 6,000 jobs. More than $6 million has been loaned in Clark and surrounding counties. They have offices in Arkadelphia, Helena, Marianna and Stuttgart, Ark. Southern Financial Partners is a non-profit affiliate of Southern Development Bancorporation.

Southern Development Bancorporation is a $350 million development banking organization that offers a full line of financial products and economic development services to residents in rural Arkansas and the Mississippi Delta. The services include: bank credit, low-income housing development, small business assistance, “non-bank” lending, work force training, asset building and advocacy for the poor.

Southern Development has offices in Arkadelphia, Clarendon, Helena, Marianna, Pine Bluff and Stuttgart, Arkansas and Drew, Friars Point, Lambert, Lula, Ruleville and Sledge, Mississippi.