(June 8, 2007 - New Orleans, LA) Two credit union managers whose demonstrated leadership in easing the pain of poverty for individuals and communities were awarded with this year’s Annie Vamper “Helping Hands” Awards, the highest honor bestowed by the National Federation of Community Development Credit Unions (the Federation).
In 1993, the “Helping Hands” Awards were created to honor the memory of Annie Vamper, credit union manager, NCUA official, and later, Associate Director of the Federation. Each year since 1993, the Federation has celebrated the people whose unselfish contributions to the CDCU movement carry her legacy onward from generation to generation.
| William "Bill" Bynum (left) accepts his Vamper Award with Federation Executive Director, Cliff Rosenthal.
The 2007 Awardees
The first Vamper recipient of 2007, William Bynum, is President and CEO of the Enterprise Corporation of the Delta and Hope Community Credit Union (ECD/Hope) headquartered in Jackson, MS.
During his acceptance speech, Bynum recalled his introduction to the credit union movement many years ago. “I remember going to a credit union in a garage where my mom borrowed the money to buy a washer and the suit I wore when I went to college,” he said. The washing machine was for their home, a single-wide trailer.
Bynum’s social activism began in college, and his early experience with credit unions led him to collaborate in organizing Self-Help Credit Union in 1983. Self-Help’s success, which has become the third-largest CDCU in the country with $286 million in assets and a multi-billion-dollar secondary market for affordable housing, inspired Bynum to organize the Enterprise Corporation of the Delta and Hope Community Credit Union in 1995.
Since then, Bynum’s organization has quickly become a widely recognized name in community development. The credit union had the fastest growing membership in the country in 2006, with most of its recent growth resulting from its efforts to help the displaced victims of Hurricane Katrina. Since the hurricane, the credit union has made more than a thousand low- and no-interest loans for home rehabilitation and cleanup as well as for rental deposits.
The affiliate-organizations, which serve Louisiana, Mississippi, and Arkansas, operate out of three credit union branches (soon to be four) and ten ECD offices across the mid-south.
“I stand before you humbled, as I stand on the shoulders of such giants like Annie Vamper,” said Bynum. “We have been fortunate that so many of you helped us along the way,” he told the conference attendees.
John Dupree, Jr. at trhe Vamper Awards Gala.
The second recipient of the 2007 Annie Vamper “Helping Hands” Award, John Dupree, Jr., is manager of the $1.2 million Shiloh of Alexandria FCU in Arlington, VA, a faith-based credit union that recently adopted a housing project into its field of membership. Widely recognized as an innovator and visionary, Dupree, has worked for the credit union as a volunteer since its founding 13 years ago by his father, John Dupree, Sr.
Despite its size, the tiny credit union has made mortgage loans to homeless people in its community and put an impoverished young dancer through ballet school, all the while managing to meet the varying needs of its members through the innovative use of partnerships as well as compassion.
“None of us are people with a financial background,” said Dupree, an engineer by education whose full-time “day job” is with the Environmental Protection Agency. “We just have a sincere desire to help our community.”
He called the new generation of faith-based credit unions “the moral compass of the credit union movement,” and thanked the Federation, as well as their other supporters throughout the credit union movement for their successes.
About Annie Vamper
When Annie Wilma Vamper passed away on May 19, 1990, the community development credit union (CDCU) movement lost one of its heroes and an important part of its history. For more than 30 years, Annie Vamper served in virtually every role the credit union movement has to offer. Born in Bessemer, Alabama in 1933, she started as a volunteer with the College City Elks Lodge FCU in 1958. By 1962, she began working with the M.C.E. FCU, where she served as manager until 1966.
During the War on Poverty in the 1960s, Annie was recruited to become the Credit Union Coordinator for Dade Economic Opportunity Program in Florida, where she organized, chartered, and trained the staff of twelve neighborhood credit unions. Her work caught the attention of the Bureau of Federal Credit Unions, and she became a Limited-Income Credit Union Specialist for the Southeast Region. She joined the team of Project Moneywise, to promote consumer education and cooperatives among low-income people.
In 1972, as the nation began to turn away from the problems of the poor, Annie returned to managing a credit union, Coulter Electronics Employees FCU, where she served for eight years before being recruited again by the National Credit Union Administration (NCUA).
It was after working with NCUA that she came to the National Federation of Community Development Credit Unions, joining its only remaining staff member, Clifford Rosenthal, in rebuilding the Federation. She became Associate Director – and chief financial officer, Capitalization Program Director, regulatory analyst, and “godmother” to half a dozen new CDCUs formed during the 1980s. Until her death in 1990, she gave every ounce of her strength, her commitment, and her love to the Federation and the CDCU movement.
© 2007 National Federation of Community Development Credit Unions.