JACKSON — A $100,000 investment in the Hope Community Credit Union (HCCU) is just one way AmSouth Bank is building relationships with the community. As time goes on AmSouth and credit union officials hope the investment will lead to more business opportunities in the Jackson area.
HCCU is a low-income designated credit union and a certified financial institution founded by Anderson United Methodist Church in 1995. By 1999 more than 27 churches had come together to support the credit union. In February 2000 the credit union expanded to include the members of these other Jackson area churches as well.
“We believe this ($100,000 investment) will not only benefit the business communities in this area but will also empower our members to have access to basic financial services in order to reinvest in their communities,” said Neddie Winters, manager of HCCU. “We are excited about the partnership that we have with AmSouth Bank in terms of reinvesting in our communities.”
Winters hopes that with AmSouth’s $100,000 investment in HCCU as well as the investments of other financial institutions that HCCU will be able to provide its members checking accounts and other products in the future. Already the credit union provides loan services, share certificates, regular savings accounts, automobile loans, Christmas Club loans, automatic draft and automatic deposits to its members.
“What we expect to see in the future is a more cooperative relationship to promote education,” Winters said. “We want to empower people to better manage their money and make better decisions with their money, and promote savings and reinvestment in communities that are under-served and non-served.”
Winters said there has already been tremendous growth in the number of members of the credit union. In 2001 HCCU made more than $1 million in loans. In addition, 816 new members joined the credit union, up from 247 new members that joined in 2000.
Regina Austin, regional community development officer for AmSouth, said the goal of the $100,000 investment in HCCU is to increase credit union’s net worth so they will be able to offer more services.
“For us it’s just a way to continue to invest in the community and provide assistance with Hope because they’re definitely looking to help low to moderate income individuals and by them helping them it helps us,” Austin said. “In the future their members can possibly qualify for a loan with us. It’s all about building relationships in the community.”
Austin said the HCCU’s services are excellent because they deter people from going to check-to-cash types of lending institutions and pawn shops.
“They’re able to receive fair loans through the credit union,” Austin explained.
And the entire business community benefits when they do business with HCCU. Stan Pratt, City of Jackson president of AmSouth, explained why.
“Having access to credit they might not otherwise have allows them to purchase things that will stimulate the economy,” Pratt said.
Another benefit is the education HCCU provides its members.
“Rather than just a lending institution, they’re educating their members about credit and counseling them on when to borrow and when not to borrow,” Pratt said.
“It’s more than just a lending institution but education and counseling with the lending.”
Contact MBJ staff writer Elizabeth Kirkland at email@example.com or (601) 364-1042.