A A A print this page

Millsaps Trustee William Bynum's HOPE Credit Union Receives John P. McNulty Prize

October 25, 2013


Millsaps College Trustee William Bynum and HOPE Credit Union have been announced as the recipients of the sixth annual John P. McNulty Prize. The $100,000 prize “recognizes the spirit of innovation and excellence of private sector leaders who use entrepreneurship to address important global social issues.”


William Bynum (left) receives the John P. McNulty Prize with former Secretary of State Madeleine Albright


The John P. McNulty Prize honors the visionary work of an Aspen Global Leadership Network Fellow of the Aspen Institute. This year’s international panel of judges included former Secretary of State Madeleine Albright, African diplomat Olara Otunnu and international development expert Brizio Biondi-Morra.

Bynum has advised Presidents Bill Clinton, George Bush and Barack Obama on community development issues, small business and financial service matters. He founded HOPE to provide financial services that support jobs, housing, access to health care and other critical needs in the region’s most distressed communities.

“Our goal is to ensure that hardworking people have access to the tools they need to buy homes, start businesses, educate their children and otherwise support their families regardless of their station in life,” said Bynum. “Hopelessness in a community is when there isn’t a clear path to a better future. At HOPE, we provide a vehicle for people to work together, and boost each other up to that next rung on the economic ladder."



Students in the Else School of Management have worked with HOPE to educate consumers and spread the word about the credit union after it opened branches in Utica and Edwards, two small towns that lacked bank branches.

Since 2008, as other institutions were closing their doors in underserved communities, HOPE has responded by extending a lifeline to residents in Mississippi, Louisiana, Tennessee and Arkansas. During this period, HOPE grew from three to 15 branches, increased its member-owners from 9,000 to 28,000, and closed more than 7,200 consumer, mortgage and small business loans totaling more than $260 million. HOPE’s award will be used to support the “Friends of HOPE” campaign, a fundraising effort focused on creating financial oases in bank deserts.

Bynum began his professional career by helping establish Self-Help, a pioneer in the development finance industry. He later built nationally recognized programs at the North Carolina Rural Economic Development Center. He moved to Jackson in 1994 to become the founding CEO of the Enterprise Corporation of the Delta, and in 1995 organized Hope Credit Union.

Bynum served for ten years as a presidential appointee and chairman of the Treasury Department’s Community Development Advisory Board. In 2012 he was named vice chairman of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau’s inaugural Consumer Advisory Board. Bynum is a recipient of the University of North Carolina Distinguished Alumnus Award, Ernst & Young National Entrepreneur of the Year Award, National Rural Assembly Rural Hero Award and National Federation of Community Development Credit Unions “Helping Hands” Award. He is a member of numerous boards including the University of Mississippi MIND Center, the Foundation for the Mid South, the Mississippi Children’s Museum, Corporation for Enterprise Development and the William Winter Institute for Racial Reconciliation.

Other finalists for the 2013 prize included India Leadership Initiative Fellow and Naandi Foundation CEO Manoj Kumar; Catto Fellow Adam Lowry of Ocean Plastic Project in San Francisco; and Henry Crown Fellow Chinwe Onyeagoro of FundWell in San Francisco. Bynum and these finalists were honored at the annual McNulty Prize reception in New York City on November 6.