Southern Bancorp Community Partners President Named

Southern Bancorp Community Partners President Named
Karama Neal (Southern Bancorp)

Southern Bancorp Inc. of Little Rock announced Tuesday that, following a nationwide search, Karama Neal, Ph.D., was selected to serve as president of Southern Bancorp Community Partners.

SBCP, a nonprofit development finance organization and loan fund, works alongside and in partnership with Southern Bancorp Inc. and Southern Bancorp Bank to increase access to capital in underserved markets through financial education support, public policy advocacy and flexible lending.

Neal is SBCP's COO. She joined the organization as a senior grant writer in 2009.

Her most recent work includes leading efforts to create a Bank On Arkansas coalition that will encourage financial institutions and others to offer products and services to Arkansans who are underbanked and unbanked; and developing Southern Bancorp's new Opportunity Center initiative, which is aimed at connecting community members with Southern’s financial development and lending services, both in branch and online.

A Little Rock native and Central High School graduate, Neal received her bachelor's degree from Swarthmore College in Pennsylvania, her master's degree in bioethics and health policy from Loyola University in Chicago, and her Ph.D. in genetics and molecular biology from Emory University in Atlanta. She is also a graduate of the Impact Investing Programme at the Said Business School at the University of Oxford.

She also serves as a trustee of the Mary Reynolds Babcock Foundation, a steering committee member of the Arkansas Asset Funders Network, a commissioner for the Arkansas Access to Justice Commission and a member of the board of directors for the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis' Little Rock Branch.