JACKSON, Miss. (8/7/15)--Bill Bynum and Hope CU’s role in bringing financial services to high-poverty, low-income communities in the Mississippi Delta communities, including one New Orleans neighborhood, was highlighted in a recent American Public Media's "Marketplace" segment.
In introducing the segment, "Marketplace" radio host Kai Ryssdal set the stage for the interview with Bynum by talking about the lack of financial institutions in some New Orleans neighborhoods.
Bynum started Hope CU at his church in Jackson, Miss., 20 years ago. The credit union has expanded throughout the South, focusing on communities “places often forgotten by traditional banks,” reporter Noel King said during the segment. “[Bynum] says where there are no banks, there are no mortgages, there are no small businesses, no investments.”
Among Hope CU’s branches is a location in New Orleans’ Central City neighborhood. The branch’s 2004 opening was historic--Central City had not been served by a financial institution in 40 years.
The Central City branch opened eight months before Hurricane Katrina hit the region. The increased need for financial services in the wake of the storm caused the branch to increase its employees to 150 from 55. That growth prepared the Central City branch for another type of disaster: the 2008 financial meltdown.
“Bynum cites a Bloomberg report from 2013, that found that, since the recession, 1,800 U.S. bank branches have closed,” King said. “Ninety-three percent of them were in low-income communities. In that same time, Hope CU has tripled in size, expanding from seven branches to 24.”