Outstanding Individual Achievement
In recognition of his efforts to provide vital financial services to
underprivileged and underserved populations, his advocacy for the credit
union movement and his unwavering commitment to the credit union
principle of people helping people, the National Credit Union Foundation
(the Foundation) is pleased to announce William J. Bynum, Chief
Executive Officer of Hope Credit Union, as the recipient of a 2016 Herb
Wegner Memorial Award for Outstanding Individual Achievement.
As President/CEO, Bynum has led Hope Credit Union (HOPE) on an
incredible trajectory. In 1995, Bynum founded the organization as Hope
Community Credit Union based out of Anderson United Methodist Church in
Jackson, Miss. Bynum wanted to provide a better option for members of
his community – many of whom were dependent on predatory payday lenders
and pawn shops for financial services. Over a 26 year period (from 1988
to 2014), HOPE was the only credit union chartered in the state of
After initially relying on church volunteers to maintain operations,
over time, more churches joined HOPE, tripling the credit union
membership to over 2,700. In 2001, Bynum made the Enterprise Corporation
of the Delta (ECD)—a business loan fund he had organized to create jobs
in the Mississippi Delta—the primary sponsor of Hope Credit Union. With
the infusion of new capital and stronger infrastructure, HOPE’s
membership grew exponentially; today, it is a federally chartered CDFI
with over 30,000 members from across the Southern U.S.
The majority of Hope Credit Union’s members come from disadvantaged
communities. The Mississippi territory where HOPE was founded contains
one quarter of America’s most persistently impoverished counties, where
the poverty rate has exceeded 20% for three decades in a row. Eighty-one
percent (81%) percent of HOPE’s membership are minorities and 52% come
from households earning less than $35,000 per year. Additionally, over
1/3 of HOPE’s members were unbanked when they joined Hope Credit Union.
With HOPE, Bynum has given thousands of Americans necessary financial
services for the first time in their lives.
Throughout his career, Bynum has used financial services to create
opportunities in communities that desperately need them. In 1989, Bynum
joined the North Carolina Rural Economic Development Center, where he
managed investments in various community development operations. Through
Hope Credit Union, Bynum helped the Winston County Self Help
Cooperative—a group of small black farmers—purchase land in bulk for
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