03/03/13 — Southern Bank gets fifth straight 'Outstanding' rating

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Southern Bank gets fifth straight 'Outstanding' rating

By From staff reports
Published in News on March 3, 2013 1:50 AM

MOUNT OLIVE -- Southern Bank and Trust Co. has received its fifth consecutive Community Reinvestment Act "Outstanding" rating -- the highest CRA rating possible granted by the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation.

The "Outstanding" rating is based on the bank's performance under the CRA community development lending, investment and service tests from June 23, 2009 through July 9, 2012.

The bank's mortgage, small business, small farm and community development lending, community development investments and community services were examined in the communities the bank serves.

"We are extremely honored that our bank has earned its fifth 'Outstanding' CRA rating," said Robert Shepherd, senior vice president and corporate CRA officer. "This rating is a reflection of our directors, senior management and employees' commitment to help meet the credit needs of our banking communities. Our passion for our communities is sincere, and our commitment to community reinvestment remains steadfast."

A bank's CRA rating is one of many factors that bank regulatory agencies review when considering applications for branch openings and closings from federally insured banking institutions. An unsatisfactory rating under the Community Reinvestment Act can potentially lead to the denial of such applications, bank officials said.

In 1995, the CRA Act was revised to focus bank examination ratings on actual performance, rather than demonstrated efforts. Since the 1995 revisions, few banks have received an "Outstanding" rating.

Other possible CRA ratings banks can receive are as follows: Satisfactory, Needs to Improve, and Substantial Noncompliance.

CRA was enacted by Congress in 1977 to encourage depository institutions to help meet the credit needs of the communities they serve.

Founded in 1901, Southern Bank and Trust Company is a wholly owned subsidiary of Southern BancShares, Inc. With its corporate headquarters located in Mount Olive, the bank has total assets of approximately $2 billion and a network in North Carolina and Virginia.