Simmons to Donate Eudora Bank Branch to Southern Bancorp

Simmons to Donate Eudora Bank Branch to Southern Bancorp
George Makris

Simmons First National Corp. of Pine Bluff announced Monday a plan to donate a branch bank it is acquiring in Eudora to Southern Bancorp Bank of Arkadelphia, a community development institution.

Simmons is acquiring the branch with its pending purchase of Delta Trust & Bank but is being required under federal regulations to divest itself of the additional market share in the same Federal Reserve market area as Simmons' existing Lake Village branches.

"What some people would view as a challenge due to the federal regulations, we saw as a unique opportunity to bring together two organizations with similar core values," CEO George A. Makris Jr. said in a press release. "Part of the Simmons Bank community banking philosophy includes giving back to the communities in which we serve to improve the quality of life for those within the community.  By donating this branch to Southern Bancorp Bank, one of the nation’s oldest and most respected Community Development Financial Institutions, we’re ensuring that the people of Eudora and the surrounding community will have access to uninterrupted financial services as well as a unique array of development services."

The Delta Trust branch in Eudora had $10.3 million in deposits as of June 30, 2013, the last time the Federal Deposit Insuraance Corp. conducted its annual snapshot of bank deposits. The only other bank that currently operates in Eudora, according to the FDIC, is Commerce Community Bank of Oak Grove, Louisiana, which acquired Eudora Bank in December. That branch had $24.6 million in deposits at at the end of June 2013.

Simmons First Bank of South Arkansas, the Lake Village charter that is being collapsed into Simmons First National Bank of Pine Bluff next month, has three branches in Chicot County: two at Lake Village and one at Dermott.

"Southern Bancorp is excited about expanding our unique brand of banking and development services to Eudora and the surrounding community," Southern CEO Darrin Williams said in the release. "Our focus is specifically on rural communities just like Eudora, which means we are aware of both the challenges they face and the opportunities that exist. We are ready to help create those opportunities for the people of Chicot County. I applaud this decision by Simmons First that will ensure continued access to friendly and responsive banking service and capital to the people of Eudora."

Simmons' $66 million purchase of Delta Trust & Banking Corp. of Little Rock is expected to close in the third quarter. The branch donation is expected to be complete by Oct. 10, according to Monday's announcement.