April 15, 2015

Stacked NDC Academy LogoCongratulations to Southern Bancorp Community Partners on being selected as a semi-finalist in the Creative Finance Category for the NDC Academy Awards 2015. The NDC Academy Awards Semi-Finalists represent some of the most innovative and impactful developments changing the lives for residents in underserved communities across the country, NDC is honored to highlight the achievements of these organizations at the NDC Academy 2015.

Building Communities, Changing Lives – Little Rock, AR

Net worth drives economic opportunity for people and communities. As individuals become economically empowered, the local community benefits through increased economic activity, job creation, and an overall higher quality of life. Southern Bancorp Community Partners (SBCP), a Community Development Financial Institution (CDFI) loan fund, in affiliation with Southern Bancorp Bank (SBB; collectively, Southern), a mission-oriented bank and CDFI, has developed and continues to refine a sustainable and scalable CDFI model that focuses upon economically distressed rural communities in Arkansas and Mississippi. SBCP builds communities and changes lives by providing a road-map to help individuals build net worth through three primary routes: entrepreneurship, home-ownership, and savings–the economic opportunity pathways. SBCP supports entrepreneurship and small businesses, in order to increase the number of sustainable, well-paying jobs and empowers individuals to increase their savings and assets and become homeowners. SBCP works with SBB to create responsive, innovative financial products and financially-related development services for people (particularly low-income), small businesses, rural communities, and the un/underbanked, Because clustering economic activities in neighborhoods or communities creates synergy, SBCP provides a concentrated suite of programs and services in order to accelerate the success of development activities. SBCP staff guide small businesses on a personally tailored path towards economic opportunity and mobility by providing them with extensive pre-loan counseling, entrepreneurial education, workforce development, and creative financing. For individuals, SBCP offers a tailored combination of financial education, credit counseling, matched savings accounts, free tax preparation services, counseling and flexible financing for homeownership, and low or no cost checking accounts. Each pathway is unique, evolving, tested, and refined and features proven and promising new strategies based on needs and available opportunities.

Direct Community Impacts, changing lives!

One recent client includes a first-time homeowner from low-income Helena, Arkansas, who was otherwise unbankable because of her credit history. SBCP provided her with a personalized financial education and a matched savings account. She improved her credit and saved enough for a down payment, and Southern creatively financed a loan, so she could make the purchase. Another client, a non-profit that used its loan to pave the main street of Drew, Mississippi, which is located in Sunflower County, Mississippi, one of the poorest counties in the United States. Southern also helped Hoffinger Industries, an important employer in Helena, Arkansas, which would have closed its plant if Southern had not financed Hoffinger’s purchase by a group of employees.