JACKSON, Miss.-Fast-growing Hope Community Credut Union pledged last week to add 11 new branches and increase its membership to 51,000 from its current 26,000, as part of former President Bill Clinton's Global Initiative America.

The community development credit union, which has doubled its assets since 2008, made its pledge as part of the Clinton Initiative's "Eliminating Bank Deserts in the Mid-South." The broad expansion, said the 16-branch, $145-million CDCU, will provide residents in underserved and distressed Mid-South communities with access to its retail services, small business loans, and mortgages.

One in four American households lacks access to key financial products and services, including savings and checking accounts. Fourteen of the nation's poorest 30 counties are located in HOPE's service area, which encompasses Arkansas, Louisiana, Mississippi and Tennessee.

"Since the recession, HOPE has filled the financial service gap for thousands of low-income residents in the Mid-South by establishing a presence in towns that were losing financial services," said HOPE CEO Bill Bynum. "Our aim is to make sure that no one is victimized by the growing number of predatory lenders that prey on these communities when they are abandoned by traditional banks."

Clinton Initiative participants, who include leaders from government, business and nonprofit sectors, made more than 50 new commitments valued at more than $1 billion that will create 32,000 jobs and fill more than 500,000 vacant jobs in the United States.

"This year's CGI America participants have formed creative partnerships and come up with inventive strategies to accelerate employment, start new businesses, and prepare Americans to take the jobs that are open in the new U.S. economy," said President Clinton."

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