TERRY, Miss. (7/7/14)--The opening of a Hope FCU branch in Terry, Miss., last week brought much needed financial services back to the town. Just as importantly, it introduced the credit union services to the town of 1,063 residents.
The town's only bank, Regions, closed in March, forcing residents to drive about 15 miles to Jackson for their financial service needs (The Clarion-Ledger July 3).
Soon after, Terry residents began efforts to bring Hope FCU to town. After an initial meeting drew 40 enthusiastic residents, Bill Bynum, CEO of the $187 million-asset credit union, which is based in Jackson, kept in weekly contact with Terry Mayor Rod Nicholson.
Regions agreed to donate the former bank building to Hope FCU, a gesture that helped the credit union open the branch much sooner, Bynum said.
"Today's celebration is a testament to what can happen when the community comes together to work towards a common goal," said Bynum said at the branch opening last week.
The decision to open a branch in Terry is part of HOPE's five-year strategic plan to double the number of places and people served--particularly in bank deserts. Bank deserts are defined by the U.S. Postal Service as a ZIP code in which fewer than two bank branches exist.
For local people, the opening of the branch is a welcome sight. "I've been a member and maintained my business account with HOPE for a number of years and they've always provided high quality products and services," said Debra Hunter, a small business owner and resident of Terry. "By opening a branch on Main Street, the credit union is not only bringing HOPE to downtown, but to all of the people who live in Terry."