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Our Response to Hope's 2022 Impact Report

This summer marks the third anniversary of when many of us were inspired by the Black Lives Matter movement and the surge of protests in the summer of 2020. While the protests focused on racially-motivated killings by the police, many of us have become more educated about other discriminatory policies and the effects of centuries of institutionalized racism. With this knowledge came a great sense of responsibility to balance the inequalities, especially among those of us with abundant resources and privilege.

The cover of Hope's 2022 Impact Report.

We encouraged our readers to take a step toward righting these inequities by opening a transformational deposit with Hope Credit Union. We’re publishing this article to share Hope’s 2022 Impact Report so depositors can see what their capital is doing to combat racial income inequality in the Deep South. Additionally, we recently went on a trip through the region hosted by Hope and Faith & Money Network, and got to see firsthand the impact they make on communities they work in - read about that experience here.

Hope’s lending statistics are incredibly impressive for any lending institution, much less a credit union, which tend to focus on consumer loans and basic banking services. But what’s really exceptional about Hope’s lending portfolio is not just what they do with their assets, but who they lend to. Hope does a significant amount of consumer lending, but the average credit score of the borrowers is 100 points below the score required by traditional lenders, providing necessary capital to those who would have no access otherwise. Hope’s mortgage lending goes almost entirely to people of color and first-time homebuyers, and of their small-business lending, 79% goes to economically distressed areas and 64% goes to black-owned businesses. It’s clear from these numbers that Hope’s commitment to low-income, Black communities is not just an empty promise.

The anecdotal stories throughout the report further illustrate the impact of our transformational deposits. When a member comes to Hope with a financial issue or need, they’re not turned away for not meeting requirements; instead, a relationship is formed and the member is helped through the process. Debbie Jones’ story is told in a video from ABC which features Hope Credit Union that we’d recommend you watch, as she was turned down for a mortgage loan by a traditional lender before coming to Hope and being approved almost instantly. Another example is the story of Marc Middlebrooks, detailed on page five of the report, who was denied a business account at several other banks before coming to Hope. They shared the resources he needed to start an officially licensed landscaping business, guiding him step-by-step through the process. This is the approach that Hope takes with all of their members, and in the region and neighborhoods that need this kind of practice more than anyone.

So we just wanted to thank our readers who have invested in Hope for their willingness to do a small thing that makes a huge difference for underprivileged Black communities in the Deep South. These transformational deposits aren’t earning maximum returns, but they are making a maximum impact, and are a step towards creating a more equitable future in this country. While a solution to the racial wealth gap is far from reach, the work Hope Credit Union is doing is an important example of what we can accomplish when we do what we can to move forward.


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