HOPE: Eliminating Bank Deserts in the Mid South
BREAKING NEWS: HOPE CEO Bill Bynum has just announced the following commitment that will significantly increase HOPE's impact and serve more residents of the Mid South!!
Hope Credit Union (HOPE) committed to doubling its presence and impact in underserved and distressed Mid-South states. In response to the decline in traditional financial services in low-income communities across the region, HOPE will merge with other credit unions, acquire bank branches, open new branches, and roll out mobile financial services to reach the most underserved households in remote locations. Through these activities HOPE will add 11 new branch locations and increase its membership from 26,000 to 60,000 individuals, providing residents with access to retails products and services, and loans for small businesses, mortgages, and other purposes that stabilize lives and neighborhoods.
Overview (See the press release for more details.)
HOPE will join some of the nation's other leading public, private, and nonprofit organizations this week at Clinton Global Initiative America (CGI America). For more than 18 years, HOPE has worked to close financial service gaps in the Mid South, and the credit union will focus on issues of financial inclusion during the meeting this week in Chicago.
HOPE is in a unique position to leverage its work in strengthening communities, helping individuals build assets, and improving lives in economically distressed areas of the Mid South as part of a plan to eliminate bank deserts and enhance financial inclusion in the region.
HOPE CEO Bill Bynum will make a special announcement during the closing plenary about HOPE’s commitment to significantly increase its impact. You can watch live Friday, June 8, at 4:00 p.m. (CST).
The Region’s Need Is Great
Burdened with some of the highest poverty rates in the nation, individuals, businesses, and communities in the Mid-South have long suffered from a lack of access to traditional financial services.
Fourteen of the nation's poorest 30 counties are located in the Mid South states of Arkansas, Louisiana, Mississippi and Tennessee. This contributes to a disproportionate absence of banking services in the region, a fact that severely limits the economic prospects of its families, businesses and communities.
Since the financial crisis of 2008, matters have only gotten worse. Record numbers of financial institutions have disappeared or merged, and hundreds of bank branches and small credit unions in HOPE’s service area remain at risk of closing.
While bank deserts spread across the nation, the Mid-South continues to have the highest percentage of unbanked and underbanked residents in the in the country. In the absence of traditional financial services, families rely on check-cashers, payday lenders, mortgage brokers, and other high-cost financiers, which limits economic opportunity for the region’s residents. Additionally, many entrepreneurs and business owners cannot access financing to start, stabilize, and grow their companies. These challenges disproportionately affect low-income, rural, and minority communities.
But There Is HOPE
Since 1994, HOPE has been working to strengthen communities, build assets, and improve lives across the region.
HOPE is a nonprofit community development financial institution that provides access to affordable, responsibly structured financial services in low-income, economically distressed, and underbanked communities across the Mid-South. These include checking and savings accounts; consumer, payday alternative, mortgage, business, and affordable housing development loans; online, mobile, and telephone banking; and ATM, debit, and credit cards.
A nationally recognized community development financial institution, HOPE has generated over $1.6 billion in financing and directly benefitted more than 120,000 individuals.
HOPE’s 18-year track record of success produces quantifiable, tangible results.
HOPE Is The Answer
For Deposit Accounts
HOPE membership is available to everyone in the community, including individuals who are not able to open accounts at traditional financial institutions. HOPE provides them an opportunity to save money on basic banking services, participate more fully in the traditional economy, and begin building assets.
For Consumer Loans
HOPE’s service area has the highest concentration of predatory lenders in the nation. HOPE’s credit-building and payday loan alternative products assist low-income borrowers, the elderly, and other populations that are often targeted by predatory lenders.
For Mortgage Lending
76% of HOPE mortgage borrowers were denied elsewhere, or their only other option was a higher-cost mortgage from a predatory lender.
For Small Business Lending
HOPE provides opportunities for small and medium-sized businesses to start, stabilize and grow. Our lending expertise and use of government guarantee programs enable us to make loans to more viable businesses in markets traditional lenders have abandoned.
For Job Creation
HOPE focuses on lending to businesses that will help create jobs that pay a living wage. Stronger job creation leads to more more prosperous families and more stable communities.
A Giant Leap Forward: $500 Million Expansion into Mid South Bank Deserts
The exodus of traditional banks from vulnerable areas, the frailty of small credit unions, debilitating economic conditions, and the Mid South’s entrenched poverty require that HOPE deepen its reach into bank deserts.
Through mergers, acquisitions, new branches and mobile technology HOPE is working to double its impact in underserved communities.
HOPE needs $20 million in funding to:
Be A Friend Of HOPE
The relative absence of substantial institutional and individual wealth in the Mid South requires that HOPE reach outside our region to secure resources for our work.
HOPE needs broad support from across the nation to eliminate bank deserts and create opportunities for families, businesses and communities in the nation's poorest region.
HOPE is gathering a very special group of people – the Friends of HOPE – who will commit to help in two specific ways.
Note: (See the press release for more details.)