A solid banking option working in the Mississippi Delta, a region in desperate need of investment
The northwest corner of Mississippi is called the Mississippi Delta (not to be confused with the Mississippi River Delta 300 miles downstream), and is the poorest region in the state with the highest rate of poverty in the country. Mississippi is the blackest state in the country, with 37% of the population identifying as African American in the latest census. If anyone is having trouble believing that many are still struggling with the effects of slavery and segregation, pointing them to the wealth disparities in Mississippi and particularly the Delta might make them question their viewpoint. The unemployment rate of black Mississippians is three to four times that of white residents, and in one of the poorest towns in the Delta, Tchula, the few large farms are still owned by descendants of slave-holding plantation owners while the majority black residents struggle to find work that isn’t seasonal or barely over minimum wage.
In regions like these, Better Banking Options can make all the difference to revitalizing the area and bringing capitol to those who need it most. For this reason, we’d like to recommend Planters Bank & Trust, a solid bank working in the Mississippi Delta to provide exceptional customer service as well as loans which help keep rural towns in this region operating. They will have been operating in Mississippi for a hundred years in 2020, and their headquarters is located in Indianola, the largest town in the Mississippi Delta with only 12,000 people. They’ve grown significantly since opening, now with over $1 billion in assets and having nineteen locations in 13 different small towns across the Delta. They’re also a certified CDFI, although the number of CDFIs in Mississippi is higher than most states simply because most people who live there are considered low- and middle-income.
Although Planters Bank & Trust is still a solid Better Banking Option, we would encourage them to do more lending, as they are slightly under our benchmark for net-loans-to-deposits with two-thirds of their assets being lent out. We would also like to know more about the history and how it got the name Planters. Originally, was this bank for landowners rather than land workers? If you know anything about the bank’s history, please let us know.
Planters Bank & Trust achieved a satisfactory CRA rating as well as a positive return on assets, indicating they’re a stable institution. Thirty-one percent of their lending portfolio is devoted to housing loans, with 70% of these loans going to low- and moderate-income individuals, and all but one of their branches are in low- and moderate-income neighborhoods. They also do a significant amount of both small farm and small business lending, with 20% of their lending being allotted to these purposes.
Overall, this is a solid bank devoted to serving their members in a region that is in desperate need of good loan products, and anyone looking to invest in this region can do so, as they have both online and mobile banking options. Check out their website to learn more about this Better Banking Option.