A credit union working in the deep south to reinvigorate low-income, black neighborhoods
Hope Credit Union has been committed to providing excellent banking services and resources to those who need them most—low-income families and communities—since 1995. They articulate their vision as: “To be a community development financial institution that: provides a substantial number of low-wealth people and communities with the financial tools and resources needed to achieve a better quality of life; that influences policies and resources that impact our constituents and our interests; and that is financially self-sufficient.”
Formed as Mississippi’s only church-sponsored credit union, Hope Credit Union was created by members of Anderson United Methodist to financially empower low-income residents of Jackson through asset development, financial education, and community reinvestment. Since connecting to other faith-based organizations driven to community investment in 2000, they have grown enormously, wanting to influence the lives of as many people possible. As Anderson United Methodist is a historically black church, Hope primarily serves and is run by people of color, getting money into the hands of individuals which have been disproportionally ignored by traditional American banking. Committed to not only community development but also excellent service and accessibility, Hope has also continued to expand its financial services offered both at its branches and online.
In one year alone (2015-2016), Hope Credit Union increased its lending by 93%, primarily in housing (56% increase) and business lending (153% increase). This year, Hope Credit Union won the Wall Street Journal Financial Inclusion Challenge for their work in the deep South reinvigorating communities which had few financial options. In many towns Hope works in, there are no financial institutions besides payday loans and check cashing, and many residents are understandably distrustful of the banking industry. Many of the people Hope serves have never had a checking account or any amount of savings, and desperately need housing and small business loans to begin to build wealth. Hope provides these individuals with not only the loans to become self-sufficient, but also with the education and individualized attention they need to start trusting financial institutions and building.