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Southern Bank opens loan production office

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Officials with Poplar Bluff-based Southern Bank have lured a 35-year financial industry veteran out of retirement to open a loan production office in Springfield.

Dave Tooley, former Metropolitan National Bank president and CEO, on Sept. 1 opened Southern Bank’s loan office at 4650 S. National Ave., Ste. C-7, in the South National Office Plaza.

Officials have set their sights on a full-service bank with Tooley leading the way as branch manager.

Tooley retired from Metropolitan National Bank in March, before Greg Steffens, Southern Bank president and CEO, approached him about the job. The bankers’ paths had crossed during the 1990s, when they worked together at a bank in Mount Vernon.

Tooley said first opening a loan facility has become a more common practice among banks entering new markets, adding that southwest Missouri’s strong real estate market is what made it appealing,.

This is, has been and will be again a strong real estate market. There’s opportunity for somebody who would want to grow a little bit,” Tooley said. “The endeavor here is to pick up some good loan business and eventually make it a full-service facility.”

If Southern Bank’s plans for a full service branch materialize, its top competitors in the market, according to the June 30 Federal Deposit Insurance Corp. deposit market share report, are as follows:

  • Great Southern Bank, 14.6 percent market share;

  • Commerce Bank, 10.92 percent;

  • Empire Bank, 9.72 percent;

  • Guaranty Bank, 6.67 percent; and

  • Liberty Bank, 6.15 percent.

Chartered in 1887 as Poplar Bluff Loan and Building, Southern Bank is a $550 million bank, according to its Web site.

The bank (Nasdaq: SMBC), which became a publicly traded company in 1994, has nine locations in southeast and southwest Missouri and five in northeast Arkansas.

Southern Bank shares were trading at $15.44 as of 11:30 a.m today. The 52-week range is $10.88 to $16.75.

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