The Opportunity Finance Network will award the 2014 Ned Gramlich Award for lifetime achievement to Bill Bynum, CEO of Hope Enterprise Corporation/Hope Credit Union. Bynum will receive the award Thursday at OFN's annual conference.
Bynum was selected primarily for his work with the Jackson, Mississippi-based credit union. According to Hope's website, it was founded in 1995 by members of a Jackson church, and claims to be the only church-based credit union in the state. Bynum also chaired the U.S. Treasury Department's Community Development Assistance Board from 2002 until 2013.
Mississippi consistently ranks as the poorest state in the country: the results of last year's American Community Survey, a study by the U.S. Census Bureau, showed a median household income of $37,963 and 24% of residents living below the poverty line. As such many Mississippians have trouble accessing credit — which motivated Bynum and others to found Hope.
Since its inception Hope has spread to other states in the South, serving over 500,000 individuals with $2 billion in lending, according to an OFN press release.
The OFN is a national network of community development financial institutions that ties lending to social justice advocacy.
"Bill is one of the industry's most effective and inspiring leaders, as well as a long-time advocate for social, economic, and political equality," said the president and chief executive officer of OFN, Mark Pinsky, in a press release.
The award is named for former Federal Reserve Governor Ned Gramlich.