Square Inc. Invests in Southern Bancorp


Square Inc. Invests in Southern Bancorp
Darrin Williams, CEO of Southern Bancorp Inc. (Karen E. Segrave)

Digital payments company Square Inc. of San Francisco said Friday that it made an equity investment in Southern Bancorp Inc. of Little Rock.

This investment is part of $100 million Square allocated to support of minority and underserved communities. The company allocated the final $25 million of that $100 million commitment this week, distributing dollars to entities that include the Entrepreneurs of Color Fund and the Square Inc. Bitcoin Endowment.

The company outlined its funding plan in a memo published here. It did not disclose how much it invested in Southern Bancorp., which is the holding company for Southern Bancorp Bank of Arkadelphia, a Community Development Financial Institution and one of the largest rural development banks in the country. It has $1.9 billion in assets.

Southern Bancorp CEO Darrin Williams said Square's investment will allow the bank to "further expand our reach and impact to underserved communities, undercapitalized small businesses, and underbanked families seeking to build wealth for a better future."

"Like the millions of voices raised in protest following the murder of George Floyd, countless corporations voiced their own outrage and support for racial equality. However, when words begged for action, only a few pledged to address those inequities," Williams said in a news release.

"Square is showing the country how profits can coincide with purpose, by investing in companies like ours that are committed to closing the racial wealth gap by building communities and changing lives. It's about leading the way for corporate America to move beyond words and toward action."

Williams encouraged other like-minded businesses to join Southern Bancorp's efforts to close the racial wealth gap and rebuild communities following the pandemic.

Square, co-founded by Twitter co-founder Jack Dorsey, isn't the only company investing in Southern Bancorp in the wake of last summer's protests and calls for racial equity. 

Arkansas Business reported in October that Bank of America had acquired about 5% of shares in Southern, part of a $1 billion, four-year commitment to advance racial equality and economic opportunity.


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