The 28,000-member, $161 million Hope Credit Union in Jackson, Miss., has rolled out a mobile banking app that it hopes will help expand banking services into even more of the largely unbanked and underbanked Mississippi Delta region.
The new app has versions for both Android and iOS phones and will allow members to check account balances, transaction histories, transfer money between accounts and make deposits via their phones. This feature, in particular, will make the credit union far more accessible to people who may live far from a credit union branch or deposit-taking ATM.
“This can be a game changer for unbanked communities, and in places where the only financial options are check cashers, pawn shops and payday lenders,” said HOPE CEO Bill Bynum. “Increasingly, smartphones are a standard accessory, regardless of income. By combining the Hope Mobile app and a HOPE Anytime Debit Card, people can have a full service a branch in the palm of their hands.”
At the 2012 Clinton Global Initiative America conference, HOPE announced a commitment to double its presence and the number of people it serves across the Mid South in in response to the high concentration of un- and underbanked people in the region. The app is a step toward achieving those goals.
“People in low-wealth communities often face significant challenges to meeting basic financial needs, a fact that severely limits their economic options,” said Lisa Mensah, executive director of the Aspen Institute’s Initiative on Financial Security.
“While this is a difficult concept for those who see bank branches on every corner in their neighborhood, more and more communities do not have a bank, something that has a disproportionate impact on blue collar workers and the elderly. Without an alternative like HOPE Mobile, they would spend an extraordinary amount of time and money on basic needs,” Mensah said.
“HOPE Mobile enables more people to enter the financial mainstream,” said Bynum. “Using a simple handheld device, people can now exercise more control over their finances, keep more of what they earn, and build a more stable financial foundation for themselves and their families.”