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JACKSON, Miss. – The only credit union, so far, to have received money under the Federal government’s New Market Tax Credit program says that it expects to have the full $15 million allowed before the end of the summer. The $50 million Enterprise Corporation of the Delta, headquartered in Jackson, is the sponsor of the $5 million Hope Community Credit Union. The EDC, which applied for and obtained the $15 million tax credit award, said it will funnel all that money through the credit union. “By the end of the summer we anticipate being a $20 million credit union,” said Bill Bynum, CEO of both Hope Community and the ECD. The Treasury Department’s Community Development Financial Institutions Fund administers the NMTC, a program that seeks to direct private sector funds into community development efforts. Community Development Credit Unions have generally criticized the program, observing that they are usually too small to take advantage of the complicated program and Bynum agreed that the program’s size and complexity might keep CDCUs from applying. But he also noted that if the credit union has a partner or sponsoring organization that is big enough to take advantage of the program, it can still do well. “I am excited that our credit union will be able to provide an example to others about what can be done with the NMTC,” Bynum said. Under the terms of the NMTC tax credit award, EDC and Hope have until 2005 to find investors willing to invest the $15 million covered by the tax credits. The first investor was the Beau Rivage Resort Corporation, a firm which runs a hotel and casino complex on Mississippi’s gulf coast and is part of the MGM/Mirage resort hotel chain. The efforts’ other investors, including one major regional bank, are expected to come on board before the end of the summer. The ECD and credit union expect to use the $15 million to leverage other investments of up to $170 million in capital that the credit union will use to invest in Arkansas, Louisiana and Mississippi. Hope Community has an associational field of membership, Bynum explained, that allows it to have members in all three states. “As long as someone joins the ECD, they can be a member of the credit union,” he said. “We attract people from all over the country and even outside the country that are interested in socially responsible investing,” he added. [email protected]

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