The new branch opened in Biloxi, a town hit hard by the storms, and represented a commitment the CU had first made to the community in the months after the storms.
With the opening of the Biloxi branch, Hope will make the full range of its affordable financial services more accessible to residents of the Gulf Coast area, expanding its loan programs and improving access to deposit and cash services such as savings accounts, IRAs and an ATM machine, Hope said.
Sharon Green of Biloxi heard about Hope's services through a friend. She needed help getting her credit rating back on track and wanted to learn how to better manage her finances so she could eventually purchase a home.
"I opened a checking and a savings account with Hope. Now I can do banking on the Internet and keep track of my balances. It helps me watch my expenses and do a better job of budgeting," the credit union quote Green as saying.
"I've learned a whole lot through my experience, and I want to get my kids involved in learning about their credit early," she said.
In addition to business and mortgage loans, Hope offers several consumer services including checking and savings accounts, CDs, IRAs, internet banking, and ATM and debit cards. Anyone can become a member of the credit union through membership in ECD.
According to Bill Bynum, CEO of ECD/Hope, the opening of the Mississippi coast branch reflects the organization's long-term commitment to the region.
"Credit unions uniquely enable people to safely pool their resources to help each other during challenging times such as these," Bynum said when announcing the new branch. "With the new branch Hope will expand access to vital financial services as residents navigate both the rebuilding process and the current financial crisis."
Hope said it received funding to help open the branch from the Kresge Foundation and the National Federation of Community Development Credit Unions.