Small logo Subscribe to leading news on impact investing. Learn More
The Brief Originals Dealflow Signals The Impact Alpha Impact Voices Podcasts Agents of Impact Open
What's Next Capital on the Frontier Measure Better Investing in Racial Equity Beyond Trade-offs Impact en las Americas New Revivalists
Local and Inclusive Climate Finance Catalytic Capital Frontier Finance Best Practices Geographies
Slack Agent of Impact Calls Events Contribute
The Archive ImpactSpace The Accelerator Selection Tool Network Map
About Us FAQ Calendar Pricing and Payment Policy Privacy Policy Terms of Service Agreement Contact Us
Locavesting Entrepreneurship Gender Smart Return on Inclusion Good Jobs Creative economy Opportunity Zones Investing in place Housing New Schooled Well Being People on the Move Faith and investing Inclusive Fintech
Clean Energy Farmer Finance Soil Wealth Conservation Finance Financing Fish
Innovative Finance
Personal Finance Impact Management
Africa Asia Europe Latin America Middle East Oceania/Australia China Canada India United Kingdom United States
Subscribe
Features
Series
Themes
Community
Data
Subscribe Log In
More

Agent of Impact: Darrin Williams, Southern Bancorp



Since the U.S. government’s $350 billion Paycheck Protection Program kicked in a week ago, Williams and his team have processed $42 million in loan applications. Working through last weekend, Southern Bancorp in Little Rock, Ark., processed loans as small as $8,000 for an African American-owned radio station and less than $2,000 for a photography studio.

That effort got the attention of Fox News, and that got the attention of the White House, which invited Williams to represent community development financial institutions, or CDFIs, in a video conference with the president.

“Please consider a carveout for CDFIs,” in the next relief package,” Williams urged President Trump. “We have a proven track record of promoting economic stabilization, job preservation and job creation in some of the hardest hit rural, urban and immigrant communities.”

Williams, who served three terms in Arkansas’ House of Representatives, has led Southern Bancorp since 2013. Back then, the $1.5 billion bank was still working its way out of loans it had taken in the last recession.

Williams restructured the bank’s finances, established a quarterly dividend and employee stock ownership plan, and raised $34 million in common equity. That creates liquidity for investors in CDFIs, which are required to make 60% of their loans in low-income communities.

Southern Bancorp is paving the way for a new kind of efficient capital raising for CDFIs.” Williams told ImpactAlpha. CDFIs will need that kind of stability to help underserved businesses and communities weather the COVID crash – and get access to federal relief.

Williams said businesses in the small towns of the Arkansas and Mississippi delta “haven’t had an opportunity like this before, in good times or bad times… The last thing that some of our small business customers need is more debt.”

“What makes this PPP so important is it’s 100% forgivable. It’s an infusion of capital in their business.”

You might also like...