$1 billion in loans to the underserved
Underserved businesses and individuals in Arkansas have the opportunity to grab a portion of a $1 billion investment a Mississippi credit union is planning for a five-state region in the Deep South.
The Hope Credit Union of Jackson, Mississippi, announced Thursday that it will pour $1 billion into Arkansas, Alabama, Louisiana, Mississippi and Tennessee to support more than 150,000 homebuyers, businesses and families.
“It will be open statewide,” Charity Hallman, senior vice president of community and economic development for Hope in Arkansas, said Thursday, adding that loans will be “demand-driven” and no specific dollar amount. is reserved for each state.
It will be the credit union’s biggest investment since it began operations in 1994, Hallman said. “It’s going to be very catalytic for Hope,” she said. “We’ve had a cohesive mission of serving underserved communities to help close social, racial, and economic gaps. This allows us to enhance that work.”
Hope, which is a Black and women-owned community development financial institution, will use a $92.6 million investment from the U.S. Treasury Department to leverage and attract private funding for the effort.
The organization plans to fund businesses, homebuyers, affordable rental housing, healthcare facilities, schools, and nonprofit service providers, among others, over the next decade.
“With this historic Treasury investment, Hope will ensure that for families, entrepreneurs and communities in the Delta, Black Belt and rural and inner city areas of the Deep South, access to affordable financial tools will only be no longer a barrier to their success,” Bill Bynum, chief executive of the lender, said in a statement announcing the program.
“This investment allows us to continue what we’ve been doing, just at greater volume,” Hallman said. “This allows us to increase our loan size and lend to more people on an annual basis than ever before.”
The organization, Hallman said, is a “relationship lender” that provides technical support and assistance to borrowers who may have difficulty qualifying for loans.
Hope has three offices in Arkansas, two in Little Rock and one in West Memphis. It has more than 36,000 members in the five states where it operates, including more than 3,600 in Arkansas.
More information about the program and applications can be found at hopecu.org.