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October 17, 2014
Founder of Hope Credit Union Receives 2014 Ned Gramlich Award for Responsible Finance
    by Robert Kropp

Bill Bynum, CEO of the Mississippi-based Hope Credit Union, is awarded for his efforts to advance economic opportunity in low-income communities.

Established in 2007 by Opportunity Finance Network (OFN), a national network of community development financial institutions (CDFIs), the Ned Gramlich Award for Responsible Finance award is named for the late Edward Gramlich, who served as a Federal Reserve Board Governor from 1997 to 2005. Gramlich was also a board member of OFN.

When the first award was bestowed upon Gramlich's widow, OFN President and CEO Mark Pinsky said that the annual award will be given “to people who, like Ned, have dedicated their lives--not just their work--to our shared enterprise. No one better represents the values that define opportunity finance than Ned. Ned bent the moral arc of the universe toward justice.”

This year's recipient of the Gramlich Award is Bill Bynum, founder and CEO of Hope Enterprise Corporation/Hope Credit Union (HOPE), headquartered in Jackson, MS, “for his inspiring career dedicated to advancing economic opportunity for disenfranchised, underserved, and poverty-constrained communities. He is receiveing the award for his lifelong efforts to fight inequity through serving—and providing a voice to—'riskier' populations,” OFN stated.

HOPE provides services in the areas of business lending, housing finance, retail financial services, intermediary services, and policy analysis and advocacy.

“Under Bynum’s leadership, HOPE has worked to break the cycle of poverty by providing $2 billion in financing in Arkansas, Louisiana, Mississippi, and Tennessee, helping more than 500,000 individuals improve their lives,” OFN continued. “Bynum believes—and HOPE proves—that it’s possible to lend to populations traditional financing institutions consider 'risky'—people living in areas of high poverty in the South, minorities, women, those impacted by Hurricane Katrina, and formerly unbanked individuals and families.”

Also, from 2002 until 2013, Bynum chaired the Treasury Department’s Community Development Advisory Board (CDAB), advocating for a significant role by CDFIs in addressing the financial crisis and the recession that followed. He currently chairs the Consumer Finance Protection Bureau’s Consumer Advisory Board, as well.

Speaking before a joint session of the US Congress in July, Bynum offered policy recommendations to improve federal support for the services that HOPE and other CDFIs provide to underserved communities:
1. Increase the availability and effectiveness of federal support targeted towards persistently impoverished areas and in the South;
2. Strengthen the Community Reinvestment Act to support community development institutions serving bank deserts; and
3. Support a Strong Payday Lending Rule by the Consumer Finance Protection Bureau.

“The presence of a locally owned financial institution that fosters financial inclusion offers numerous channels to move the historically underserved ahead in today’s society,” Bynum concluded in his testimony.

Upon receiving this year's award, Bynum said, “I’m grateful to be part of a movement that is committed to ensuring economic justice for people and communities where there is a dire need for financial inclusion and equality.”

“Bill is one of the industry’s most effective and inspiring leaders, as well as a long-time advocate for social, economic, and political equality,” Pinsky said. “His 30-year track record of aligning capital with justice demonstrates that Bill is not just helping bring financial equality to those in need, but he’s helping create opportunity for all.”


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