First National Bank Manila announces plans to merge With Southern Bancorp

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

MANILA -- Jerry T. Sims, chairman and chief executive officer of First Delta Bankshares, Inc., the parent company of First National Bank Manila, and Phillip N. Baldwin, president and CEO of Southern Bancorp, recently announced a merger agreement has been reached combining the two Arkansas-based banks.

The merger is anticipated to be completed in the third quarter of 2009 and will enhance the position of both institutions in providing quality rural banking solutions, Sims and Baldwin said.

"It will be to the advantage of First National Bank Manila, our customers and our employees, to be a part of Southern Bancorp," said Dan Robbins, President of First National Bank Manila. "The mission of Southern Bancorp will allow us to expand our capabilities not only in Manila but throughout the region."

Southern Bancorp is a development bank holding company dedicated to helping transform rural economies by creating new trends of investment in people, jobs, businesses and property and is the largest rural community development bank in the United States.

First National Bank Manila is affiliated with First National Bank Blytheville and Bank of Trumann under the holding company umbrella of First Delta Bankshares, Inc. When the merger is completed, Southern Bancorp will manage in excess of $1 billion in Total Assets.

"As part of Southern Bancorp, our customers will notice very little visible change with respect to our staff, banking hours and more," Robbins noted. "Our customers will continue to bank with people they know, and in the manner to which they have become accustomed."

"We do not anticipate a downside to the immediate or long-term future of this merger," Sims noted. "We are excited about the additional abilities and access to capital that will allow us to extend our legacy of excellence."

Robbins also said that the continued strength, stability and soundness of First National Bank Manila were enhanced by its new affiliation with Southern Bancorp, which will add Sims to its Board of Directors.

"In the months ahead, we will be active in our communication to our customers and to the communities we serve," Robbins said. "As the merger approaches, we will increase our efforts to keep everyone informed, and to share the excitement of anticipating being an even stronger, more active bank throughout the region."

"We look forward to being an active corporate citizen in the long-standing tradition which First National Bank Manila has established," Baldwin said. "This merger will provide Southern Bancorp with an anchor point for us in northeast Arkansas. We are not trying to reinvent the wheel with what First National Bank Manila has accomplished. We will be supporting their business model and their traditions with added expertise and investment capability."

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