(December, 24, 2009 - Washington, DC) William Bynum, President and CEO of Hope Community Credit Union/Enterprise Corporation of the Delta (Jackson, MS) was one of a select group of community financial institutions to meet yesterday, December 23, with President Obama in a meeting intended to encourage expanded lending to small businesses.
“Everything that we're going to be doing here in the White House over the next several months is going to be geared towards catalyzing and spurring additional lending, particularly to small businesses, because we feel very optimistic that the worst is behind us and that now is the time for us to seize opportunities,” President Obama said.
Following the White House meeting, Bynum was interviewed by the Public Broadcasting System’s Nightly Business Report. He pointed to some of the regulatory obstacles to expanding lending in the way President Obama urged. “We've had a good relationship with our regulators over the years. But since the financial crisis, it really tightened their examinations quite a bit. “
“We need to grow and get more capital that will allow us to increase our lending,” he elaborated. “We need fair and responsible regulation from our examiners so that we can know what the playing field is. And as we make lending decisions we can do that in a way that we can be comfortable that we won't get downgraded on our exam for making loans that we believe have an appropriate level of risk. But again in this environment, the regulators are increasingly conservative and are concerned that banks and credit unions don't go too far.”
“I was honored that President Obama invited me and other community-based lenders to share our perspectives from main street America,” said Bynum. “During the meeting I sought to emphasize the value that CDCUs, loan funds and other CDFIs contribute to our nation's financing system by ensuring that low-income, rural, minority and other historically underserved populations have access to affordable and responsible financial services, and the importance of making sure that we have the capital and liquidity and other tools needed to fulfill our mission.”
Hope Community CU has more than $127 million in assets and 27,000 members, with headquarters in Mississippi and branch offices in Arkansas, Louisiana, and Tennessee. In 2007, the National Federation of CDCUs presented Bynum its highest honor, the Annie Vamper Helping Hands Award. He currently serves as chair of the Advisory Board of the Community Development Financial Institutions (CDFI) Fund of the Department of the Treasury.
For a complete transcript of the PBS interview, please see: “President Obama Encourages Small Banks to Lend to Small Businesses,” at: http://www.pbs.org/nbr/site/onair/transcripts/president_encourages_more_lending_by_banks_091222/.
© 2009 National Federation of Community Development Credit Unions.