Southern Bank has served the financial needs of America's Heartland for over 129 years, making us one of the oldest financial institutions headquartered in the region.
We were originally chartered in 1887 as a mutual institution that was owned by its depositors. Our original founders deposited $100,000 in the Poplar Bluff Loan and Building in order to provide financing to help people buy homes. The name was chosen to symbolize our original purpose.
Our Company's assets grew slowly from $100,000 at its founding to $950,000 on December 3, 1951, when Federal Savings and Loan Insurance Corporation insured our deposits. Afterward, we started an impressive period of growth in which assets would increase to $23 million at December 31, 1969. The next phase of our growth was partially due to expansion into neighboring communities. On April 11, 1969, we opened our first branch in Dexter, Missouri, followed soon by other branches. At the end of 1979, our assets had grown to $107 million. In 1982, we acquired an office in Van Buren, Missouri. In 1975, the institution changed its name to Southern Missouri Savings and Loan.
On April 13, 1994, we completed a conversion from mutual ownership to a publicly traded stock company. Our stock trades on the NASDAQ Global Market under the symbol "SMBC". At January 1, 2000, the Bank's assets were $221 million. As we grew, we continued to be a provider of home financing, but also focused on small business lending, commercial deposit products, consumer lending and popular checking accounts. Reflecting this business model, we became Southern Missouri Bank. During 2000, we added two branches in Qulin and Kennett, Missouri. In 2001, we opened a third location in Poplar Bluff, and a new location in Doniphan, Missouri. In 2006, we added an office in Sikeston, Missouri, and added another in Matthews, Missouri in 2008.
In 2009, the Bank added four branches in and around two great Arkansas communities: Jonesboro and Paragould. These branches marked a significant increase in the Bank's market area. It was at that time that the decision was made to change our name to Southern Bank, to reflect the change in our regional presence. Following the acquisition of the four Arkansas locations, the Bank's assets totaled $511 million. In 2010, a second acquisition in Arkansas was completed, as well as the opening of a loan production office in Springfield Missouri. In 2011, we received approval to convert the Springfield office to a full-service branch. In 2012, Southern Bank added a branch on the campus of Three Rivers College in Poplar Bluff, and completed construction of a new building for the Batesville branch.
2013 brought another year of growth. A second branch was built in Jonesboro, Arkansas, a new building was built for the Searcy, Arkansas branch, as well as the acquisition of 3 branches in Thayer, Alton and West Plains, Missouri. In late 2013, Southern Bank announced the agreement to merge with Citizens State Bank of Bald Knob, Arkansas. That transaction was complete in early 2014. Also in early 2014, Southern Bank announced its intent to merge with Peoples Bank of the Ozarks. That transaction was completed on December 8, 2014.
Southern Bank is now a $1.5 billion financial institution, with 36 locations in Southern Missouri and Northern Arkansas.