Southern Bancorp to Acquire DeWitt First Bankshares

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Southern Bancorp Inc. of Arkadelphia said Thursday that it will acquire DeWitt First Bankshares Corp. and its wholly owned subsidiary, Arkansas County Bank.

Financial terms of the deal were not disclosed. Arkansas County Bank has $185 million in assets, two branches in Arkansas County (DeWitt and Stuttgart) and one in Sevier County (Lockesburg).

“We are excited to introduce Arkansas County Bank’s team members, customers and communities to Southern Bancorp’s unique blend of mission-driven products and services aimed at providing everyone in the community with the tools to build wealth,” Southern Bancorp CEO Darrin Williams said in a news release.

A certified Community Development Financial Institution, Southern Bancorp is one of the largest rural development banks in the nation.

“As one of America’s oldest and largest CDFIs, we are driven by our mission to increase economic opportunity and build individual net worth through traditional banking products and services combined with financial development offerings such as financial education, credit and homebuyer counseling, and free tax preparation among others,” Williams said.

Southern Bancorp consists of three separate CDFIs: Southern Bancorp Inc., a bank holding company; Southern Bancorp Bank, a $1.7 billion asset community development bank; and Southern Bancorp Community Partners, a 501(c)(3) development finance and lending organization. 

“We are excited to join the Southern Bancorp family,” Warren Jennings Jr., president and CEO at Arkansas County Bank, said. “For over 110 years, our bank has believed in a community-centric approach to banking, and Southern Bancorp’s nationally recognized focus on offering a wide range of unique tools to serve the community is a perfect fit for our organization and those we serve. We look forward to joining in their mission.”

The deal is subject to regulatory and shareholder approval and is expected to close in the second quarter of 2021. It will increase the number of Southern Bancorp locations across Arkansas and Mississippi to 52. 

Stephens Inc. of Little Rock served as financial advisor and Friday Eldredge & Clark LLP of Little Rock served as legal advisor to Southern Bancorp. 

Olsen Palmer LLC of Washington, D.C., served as financial advisor to DeWitt First Bankshares Corp.; Dover Dixon Horne PLLC of Little Rock served as legal advisor.