NEW YORK -- Two leaders of community development credit unions have been recognized by the National Federation of Community Development Credit Unions for their persevering community development work.
William Bynum, president and CEO of the Enterprise Corporation of the Delta and the $53 million Hope Community Credit Union, and John Dupree Jr., manager of the $1.2 million Shiloh of Alexandria Federal Credit Union, have been honored with the Annie Vamper award from the Federation.
Named for Annie Vamper, a community development pioneer, the awards are the highest the Federation gives.
Bynum is a longtime community development advocate who collaborated in the founding of the $286 million Self Help before helping to organize Hope Community. Dupree is a full time employee of the Environmental Protection Agency who has volunteered to help guide the small credit union since 1994.
Both were recognized with their awards during the Federation's last annual meeting in New Orleans earlier in June.
Since founding Hope Community and its parent organization, the Enterprise Corporation, the two organizations have quickly become widely recognized names in community development, the Federation noted. The credit union had the fastest growing membership in the country in 2006, with most of its recent growth resulting from its efforts to help the displaced victims of Hurricane Katrina. Since the hurricane, the credit union has made more than a thousand low- and no-interest loans for home rehabilitation and cleanup as well as for rental deposits.
During his acceptance speech, Bynum recalled his introduction to the credit union movement many years ago.
"I remember going to a credit union in a garage where my mom borrowed the money to buy a washer and the suit I wore when I went to college," he said. The washing machine was for their home, a single-wide trailer.
"I stand before you humbled, as I stand on the shoulders of such giants like Annie Vamper," said Bynum. "We have been fortunate that so many of you helped us along the way," he told the conference attendees.
John Dupree Jr., is manager of the $1.2 million Shiloh of Alexandria FCU in Alexandria Va., a faith-based credit union that recently adopted a housing project into its field of membership. Widely recognized as an innovator and visionary, Dupree, is continuing the work begun by his father, John Dupree Sr.
Despite its size, the tiny credit union has made mortgage loans to homeless people in its community and put an impoverished young dancer through ballet school, all the while managing to meet the varying needs of its members through the innovative use of partnerships as well as compassion.
"None of us are people with a financial background," said Dupree, "We just have a sincere desire to help our community."
He called the new generation of faith-based credit unions "the moral compass of the credit union movement," and thanked the Federation, as well as their other supporters throughout the credit union movement for their successes.