Chief Lending Officer

Company: Southern Bancorp

Location: Little Rock, AR

Job Function: Lending/Loan Operations


Thirty years ago, some of rural America’s most underserved and distressed communities gained an economic development partner when visionaries such as Bill Clinton, Rob Walton, Mack McLarty, the Winthrop Rockefeller Foundation and others formed the Southern Development Bank Corporation, today known as Southern Bancorp.

With an initial investment of approximately $10 million, and a mission to create economic opportunity, Southern Bancorp, Inc., along with its development partners – Southern Bancorp Bank and Southern Bancorp Community Partners, has grown to become one of the largest community development organizations in the United States, as well as a model for an entire industry of mission-focused financial institutions known as Community Development Financial Institutions or CDFIs. Today, Southern Bancorp is a $2 billion asset organization with over 65,000 customers and 51 branches located primarily in underserved markets in the Mid-South.

Southern’s focus is on growing its impact and influence through responsive, responsible, and innovative product delivery to the un/underbanked, as well as developing strategic partnerships that help broaden its impact far beyond its physical market borders such as with the CDFI Fund and the Global Alliance for Banking on Values (GABV).


The Chief Lending Officer (CLO) is primarily responsible for the Loan Fund’s strategic lending program including: business development and loan production, marketing and outreach, design and implementation of new financial products and services, portfolio management, loan policies and systems, and collaborating with the SBCP President to develop key partnerships and to raise new capital.

The primary responsibility of the CLO is to lead the lending team in meeting annual lending goals while developing a loan portfolio which is both responsible and responsive to the needs of Southern Bancorp’s footprint.



  • Design and implement new financing strategies and products to respond to SBCP’s goals, borrower needs, and market changes
  • Work with SBCP President to define organizational outcomes and lending goals. Regularly monitor and report out on progress to lending goals to the leadership team, staff, and Board
  • Works with the SBCP President, Director of Finance, and Chief Program Officer to develop a strategic approach to support the growth of lending.
  • Assist the SBCP President with promoting and increasing the Loan Fund profile by developing key external relationships; assist with the Loan Fund’s advocacy and coalition efforts
  • Assist in building and maintaining strong relationships with partners that provide capital and operational support; provide assistance as needed on applications to those partners
  • Evaluate and improve lending processes and procedures to ensure efficiency, consistency, and a positive borrower experience. Lead the review and update of policies related to underwriting, portfolio management, and loan servicing.

Portfolio Management

  • Supervise and support the Lenders and Loan Assistants; develop a capacity-building plan for those supervised through various professional/leadership development opportunities
  • Develop and oversee a business development/project pipeline strategy with the Lenders
  • Plan and coordinate the Loan Committee meetings; interact with the Loan Committee Chair as necessary prior to each meeting
  • Maintain strong credit quality through annual loan/borrower reviews, regular monitoring of borrower compliance with loan covenants and repayment provisions, reviewing borrower reports, and conducting periodic site visits with Lenders
  • Mitigate loan portfolio risk through enhanced monitoring, the use of extensions and restructurings, and adjustments to risk ratings and loan loss reserves; develop a strategy for loan work-outs and charge-offs as necessary
  • Negotiate and manage consultant contracts and budgets as related to lending
  • Monitor and report on the SBCP’s loan originations and portfolio performance
  • Lead the review and updates to policies related to underwriting, portfolio management, and loan servicing


  • Assist Lenders with vetting, structuring, and underwriting new loan requests; ensure new loan requests are consistent with SBCP policies and goals
    Originate and underwrite new loan requests as needed
  • Pursue and maintain relationships with participation lenders; prepare participation agreements, consulting with legal counsel as needed
  • Oversee the loan closing process; review closing documents for accuracy


Education and Experience

  • Bachelor’s degree required, Masters Degree preferred
  • A minimum of five to seven years relevant real estate and/or nonprofit lending experience required, including demonstrated experience in a management and supervisory position.
  • Experience in risk management, and ability to provide creative and flexible solutions to loan applicants by identifying relevant risks and mitigation strategies.

Other skills and knowledge

  • Superior financial analysis and credit evaluation skills for both real estate projects and organizations.
  • Deep knowledge of affordable housing and community development lending and related credit issues, and of the state’s community economic development stakeholders.
  • Familiarity with the New Markets Tax Credits program preferred.
  • Evidence of significant external client contact and business development skills.
  • Strong problem-solving and organizational skills including ability and willingness to balance strategic, lending, and organizational responsibilities.
  • Ability to prepare clear, accurate, well-organized written reports and presentations, with effective verbal communications skills.
  • Strongly self-motivated and able to follow through in completing high-quality, detailed work.
  • Commitment to mission driven lending in low to moderate income communities.
  • Proficiency with Word, Excel and PowerPoint, and comfortable learning new technology platforms.
  • Willingness and ability to travel statewide year-round.

Compensation and Benefits


How to Apply