Southern Bancorp CEO Darrin Williams has been named to the 2020 Bloomberg 50.
This annual list highlights prominent leaders across multiple fields, from finance to politics and from entertainment to technology. According to Bloomberg’s website, the fourth-annual Bloomberg 50 list presented a challenge with a crowded year of accomplishments, with the publication noting that “many people are doing notable things.”
“I am honored and humbled to represent Southern Bancorp and the mission-driven financial institution industry in general on the Bloomberg 50 list,” Williams said in a statement. “I hope to use this platform to encourage greater attention on the growing economic needs of underserved Americans and how Community Development Financial Institutions (CDFIs) like Southern Bancorp can help them.”
Williams has served as chief executive officer for Southern Bancorp since 2013. In this role, he heads up the strategy and operations for the financial institution, which includes its bank holding company Southern Bancorp Inc., rural development bank Southern Bancorp Bank and development finance and lending organization Southern Bancorp Community Partners.
He was named to the list largely for his work in championing Community Development Financial Institutions and the role they can play in impacting Americans during the COVID-19 pandemic. In 2020, he was named to the Great American Economic Revival initiative, which was charged with “chart[ing] the path forward toward a future of unparalleled American prosperity.”
After participating in a White House roundtable with other finance executives, Williams advocated for CDFIs to play an increased role in delivering economic relief to underserved communities in the United States. In the second round of PPP funding, $10 billion was allocated specifically for CDFIs.
According to Bloomberg, Southern Bancorp issued approximately $111 million in PPP loans while giving away $125,000 to small business in the Mississippi Delta.
“As one of only a few African American CEOs who lead FDIC depository institutions in excess of $1 billion in assets, I feel a responsibility to use my position to shed light on the growing wealth gap in America, be it in rural America or more broadly, in communities of color. In doing so, we can identify and implement solutions to help these communities build wealth in ways that increase economic mobility and advance economic opportunities,” Williams said.
Williams shares the list with a range of notable figures from the business, cultural and entertainment worlds, including Netflix co-CEO Reed Hastings, U.S. Supreme Court Chief Justice John Roberts, New York State Attorney General Letitia James, Universal Filmed Entertainment Group chairman Donna Langley, and chef Guy Fieri.