Southern First Bank has invested 1M in CommunityWorks to support their statewide small business and affordable housing lending. CommunityWorks serves small businesses and affordable housing developers through a variety of lending and coaching programs. As of 2021, 70.3% of CommunityWorks clients are female, approximately 80% of CommunityWorks’ small business coaching and lending clients are minorities, and in total, 70% of CommunityWorks’ clients are African American.
CommunityWorks plans to increase access to financial products for minority businesses and developers throughout South Carolina with the help of Southern First’s 5-year investment. The tailored loan products CommunityWorks offers range between $900 and $250,000 to support businesses and loans of up $1M for affordable housing development. Though headquartered in the Upstate, CommunityWorks serves all of South Carolina and is particularly focused on expanding its reach throughout the state in the upcoming years. Similarly, Southern First is headquartered in Greenville but has locations throughout South Carolina and the greater Southeast.
“Southern First is an amazing community partner. We are honored to have the opportunity to work with them through this investment to support capital opportunities for small businesses and affordable housing projects across South Carolina,” said Tammie Hoy Hawkins, CEO of CommunityWorks.
“The mission of our company is to impact lives, and that includes our own daily efforts as well as empowering others to do so on a greater scale,” said Art Seaver, CEO of Southern First. “We are proud to partner with CommunityWorks to lift up as many people in our communities as possible.”
CommunityWorks’ mission is to build a brighter future for underserved families and communities through financial education, lending, and investing, with a focus on people and communities of color. Certified by U.S. Treasury as a Community Development Financial Institution (CDFI), CommunityWorks operates a community loan fund that supports community economic development. Since its inception in 2008, CW has generated over $382 million in local economic impact, serving 7,352 families through small and micro business loans, business and financial coaching, affordable housing and community loans, and down payment assistance.
Southern First Bancshares, Inc., Greenville, South Carolina is a registered bank holding company incorporated under the laws of South Carolina. The company’s wholly-owned subsidiary, Southern First Bank, is one of the fastest growing banks in the Southeast. Southern First Bank has been providing financial services since 1999 and now operates in 12 locations in the Greenville, Columbia, and Charleston markets of South Carolina as well as the Charlotte, Triangle, and Triad regions of North Carolina and Atlanta, Georgia. Southern First Bancshares has consolidated assets of approximately $3.1 billion and its common stock is traded on the NASDAQ Global Market under the symbol “SFST.” More information can be found at www.southernfirst.com.