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Bridging the Economic Disparity Gap in the Mississippi Delta

Bill Bynum
Bill Bynum

Bill Bynum is the founder and CEO of HOPE (Hope Enterprise Corporation and Hope Credit Union), a community development financial institution established in 1994. He has advised Presidents Clinton, Bush and Obama on community development while serving as a Chairman for the U.S. Treasury Department’s Community Development Advisory Board. He currently serves as Chairperson of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau’s Consumer Advisory Board. Bynum has received several honors including National Entrepreneur of the Year (Ernst & Young/Kauffman Foundation), Ned Gramlich Award for Responsible Finance (Opportunity Finance Network) and Annie Vamper Helping Hands Award (National Federation of Community Development Credit Unions). Today, HOPE is highly regarded as a financial institution and policy institute that advocates economic inclusion across Mississippi, Arkansas, Louisiana and Tennessee and influences related policies and practices nationwide.

Key Takeaways:

  • Generally, capital is more difficult to access in the Mississippi River Delta region – which includes parts of Mississippi, Louisiana and Arkansas ­– than in other areas of the Southeast, because it is home to many underdeveloped, rural communities that investors don’t find attractive.
  • Many minority business owners live and work in rural regions like the Delta where access to capital is limited.
  • Bringing traditional financial services back to low-income areas will stimulate economic growth by giving entrepreneurs the opportunity to build equity.
  • Community Development Programs, like the New Market Tax Credit Program, are a good way to bring capital to areas deemed less desirable, like the Delta.
  • With a growing and diverse population, the Delta offers strong business opportunities for entrepreneurs who can think creatively about sourcing the capital they need.

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