Southern Bancorp: Rural Development and Public Goods in the South
We believe that healthy economies and communities must be built on a strong foundation of fairness and opportunity. The Domini Social Bond Fund invests in a number of Community Development Financial Institutions (CDFIs)—banks and credit unions whose primary missions are to serve low income, minority, women, and immigrant communities historically underserved by traditional financial institutions.
Founded in 1986, Southern Bancorp is the nation’s largest rural development bank with a long-term commitment to community revitalization through efforts such as poverty reduction, education, healthcare, housing, and leadership development. Southern works in isolated rural communities in Arkansas and Mississippi, where the poverty rate exceeds 30 percent and the unemployment rate exceeds 15 percent. Southern is the only financial institution in 30 percent of its communities and one of few banks in many of other communities. For the past 25 years, Southern has provided affordable credit and capital to meet substantial need for public goods, including construction loans for charter schools and healthcare facilities in markets largely abandoned by traditional banks. Southern’s nonprofit arm, Southern Bancorp Community Partners provides financial and technical assistance to help community leaders through a strategic planning process that achieves community development goals with the participation of local members. The Delta Bridge Project in Phillips County, Arkansas, Southern’s flagship community development program, has already brought millions of dollars and diverse resources into Phillips County and has had a tremendous impact on the lives of its residents. For more information on Southern’s Delta Bridge Project, visit the Delta Bridge Project’s website.
The Domini Social Bond Fund has invested a total of $500,000 in Southern Bancorp in the form of certificates of deposit (CD) and a money market account. In 2011, Domini Social Investments also transferred its business operating account to Southern Bancorp.