WASHINGTON (8/1/08)—A U.S. Treasury Department official, Donna Gambrell, will be on hand in Memphis today to attend an event celebrating the opening of the first Tennessee branch of Hope Community CU (HOPE). Gambrell, who is director of Treasury’s Community Development Financial Institutions (CDFI) Fund, will deliver remarks and participate in a ribbon-cutting ceremony. Hope Community CU was founded in 1995, in part, to provide an alternative to the high-cost, payday lenders. It currently operates in Mississippi, Alabama, and Louisiana. It offers such services and products as basic checking and savings accounts, online banking, bill pay services and member small business loans. The credit union describes its mission as one to “strengthen communities, build assets and change lives in economically distressed areas…” Its website reports that since inception, HOPE and its sponsor, Enterprise Corporation of the Delta, have generated over $300 million in financing and brought economic opportunities to more than 30,000 people in economically distressed areas. In 2005, HOPE was recognized as the fastest growing credit union in the nation for building deposit. A 2007 survey ranked HOPE for the fifth largest increase in membership growth in the country during 2005 and 2006. The Treasury’s CDFI program administers community development grants. It uses small amounts of federal dollars to leverage significant amounts of private and non-federal dollars to support the CDFI industry. According to Treasury, since its creation, the CDFI Fund has awarded $864 million to community development organizations and financial institutions; it has awarded allocations of New Markets Tax Credits which will attract private-sector investments totaling $16 billion, including $1 billion of special allocation authority to be used for the recovery and redevelopment of the Gulf Opportunity Zone. Use the resource link below for more information on applying for CDFI grants.