Posted 10/26/2009 12:00 am
Updated 12 months ago
Brent Black gets dual satisfaction from his job as chief financial officer at Southern Bancorp in Arkadelphia. Black, 34, helps oversee the profitable operation of a growing $1 billion-asset bank network as well as a philanthropic organization that makes a difference in people's lives.
"Each day, I get to switch back and forth between the two, and I love it," he said.
Southern Bancorp converts about half of its annual profits into grants and donations that are invested in the communities it serves.
Charitable affiliates include Southern Financial Partners in Helena, Southern Good Faith Fund in Pine Bluff and Southern Community Development Corp. in Arkadelphia.
Southern Bancorp is expanding its presence from south Arkansas and northwest Mississippi into northeast Arkansas with the acquisition of First Delta Bankshares Inc., which owns First National Bank of Blytheville (Mississippi County) and the Bank of Trumann (Poinsett County).
Black enjoyed working with numbers and solving math problems while growing up in Benton. With that backdrop, the allure of accounting in high school led to a 1998 bachelor's degree in accounting at Ouachita Baptist University.
"I thought that was something I could be good at," said Black, a certified public accountant. "The rest is history."
His career path steered toward banking while he was doing audit work in Little Rock with the accounting firms of Howland & Norris (1998-2001) and Ernst & Young (2001-03).
Black joined Southern Bancorp in 2003 and was named CFO two years later. Being a 30-year-old CFO provided some initial management challenges.
"Some of my employees have kids older than I am," Black said. "This took some getting used to, but I don't even think about it now."
He serves on the board of directors for the KIPP Delta Charter School in Helena, the Community Development Bankers Association in Washington, D.C., and the Wesley Foundation at Henderson State University/Ouachita Baptist in Arkadelphia.