The Mississippi Delta’s most pressing need can be summed up in one word: jobs.
As a commercial lender, $137 million asset Hope Federal Credit Union in Jackson, Miss., seeks to work with businesses that have the potential to generate jobs in this economically distressed region.
The credit union tells the story of Delta Fuel, a minority-owned wholesale fuel and oil company that distributes bulk fuel to farmers and ranchers in the Delta region of Louisiana and Mississippi.
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The company wanted to expand, but could find no lender willing to provide the $1 million line of credit needed for growth.
Enter Hope Federal, which recognized the powerful job-producing potential of Delta Fuel and had confidence in the company’s leadership.
Through the New Markets Tax Credit program, Hope Federal provided Delta Fuel with the necessary funds to expand its operations. The credit union helped the fuel company purchase equipment and add locations.
In just over five years, Delta Fuel grew from 28 employees to more than 65. In an area defined by high unemployment and low economic opportunity, this level of job growth makes a significant impact in the community, particularly among minority and low-income populations.
“Hope Federal’s faith in us allowed us to grow,” says Delta Fuel CEO Clint Vegas. “The growth we’ve experienced would not have been possible without Hope Federal standing behind us.”
HOPE (Hope Enterprise Corp./Hope Credit Union) is a financial institution, community development intermediary, and policy center. It provides affordable financial services; leverages private, public, and philanthropic resources; and engages in policy analysis to fulfill its mission of strengthening communities, building assets, and improving lives in economically distressed parts of the Mid-South.
Since 1994, HOPE’s efforts have generated more than $1.6 billion in financing and benefited more than 90,000 people in the Delta, Katrina-affected areas, and other distressed communities throughout Arkansas, Louisiana, Mississippi, and Tennessee.
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