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BRATTLEBORO, Vt. – One of the relatively few credit unions to have benefited from the U.S. Treasury Department’s New Markets Tax Credit Program has been featured in a story published by a Web site devoted to socially responsible investing. SocialFunds.com, a site which bills itself as the “largest personal finance site devoted to socially responsible investing” has reported on the work of the $22 million Hope Community Credit Union, headquartered in Jackson, Mississippi. Under the NMTC, more than $15 million has been pledged to help Hope Community expand its programs to help low-income and underserved residents in the Mississippi Delta area. The credit union has already used some of the money to open a branch in the Central City part of New Orleans, a primarily low-income and minority area which has not seen a new financial institution branch in 20 years. The story also reported on the Administration’s plans to eliminate the CDFI Fund, the administrator of the NMTC program, even as it pledged to leave the program in place. “The ability of a skeleton staff at the CDFI Fund to adequately manage this program is questionable,” Bill Byrum, CEO of Hope told the site. “Consequently, potential investors may be deterred by the questionable stability of the NMTC program.” “It would be a mistake to retreat from an initiative that has already demonstrated significant value, after just a fraction of the investments have been made,” Byrum, added.

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