Hope Federal Credit Union (HOPE) was organized in 1995 by the members of Anderson United Methodist Church as Mississippi’s only church-sponsored credit union.
The credit union grew out of a desire to foster asset development, cooperation and self-empowerment among low-income Jackson residents. HOPE also sought to promote savings and community reinvestment in distressed communities, educate youth about economics and finance, and provide greater access to financial services for its members.
By 1999 HOPE was still extremely small and run by part-time volunteers. They were finding it increasingly difficult to manage the credit union’s operations. HOPE began to look for additional sponsors.
In February 2000 HOPE expanded its field of membership to include several groups that share a mission of community development. Among these were the Amos Network and its approximately 28 member churches; Fellowship of Hope Ministries with fifteen member churches; the 100 Concerned Clergy with over fifty member churches; Voice of Calvary Ministries; and New Horizon Ministries. The expanded field of membership and the new sponsors helped HOPE grow tenfold in the space of two years.
In August 2002, after a long tradition of collaboration, Enterprise Corporation of the Delta (ECD) became HOPE’s primary sponsor. One of the nation’s leading community development financial institutions, ECD provides commercial, mortgage and community facilities loans in economically distressed areas of Arkansas, Louisiana and Mississippi. This alliance has made both organizations stronger and enabled HOPE to significantly expand its scope of products and services, and begin delivering its services to a much broader geography.
In 2005, HOPE was recognized as the fastest growing credit union in the nation for building its deposit. A 2007 survey ranked HOPE fifth in the nation for largest increase in membership growth during 2005 and 2006.
HOPE has continued to expand with additional mergers. At the end of 2008, HOPE merged with College Station Federal Community Credit Union, an organization located in College Station, Arkansas, with a 50-year history. American Savings Credit Union became part of HOPE on January 1, 2009. Based in Memphis, Tennessee, ASCU helped expand HOPE’s reach across the Mid South with 17,000 additional members and five new branches.
As part of its commitment to significantly increase the number of people and places it serves, HOPE has added branches and expanded the delivery of products and services via convenient and easily accessible electronic channels. HOPE has taken over branches in Terry and Utica, Mississippi, where the only banks in town were closing. There are new locations in Pine Bluff, Arkansas, and Greenville, Mississippi, where significant percentages of the populations were un- or underbanked. The credit union also established mini-branch/computer kiosk locations at a co-operative grocery store in Jackson, Mississippi, and a historic grocery store in New Orleans, Louisiana.
HOPE has deployed additional capabilities with its online, mobile banking, and online account/loan application services, allowing people who don’t have computer-based internet access and/or live farther away from branch locations to manage a wide variety of their banking needs more conveniently.
When Yucimid, a single mother of three young children and a teacher’s aide, wanted a safe place for her children to call home, she turned to HOPE.