Hope Community Credit Unionÿopened itsÿNew Orleans branch in December of 2004 on Oretha Castle Haley Boulevard.ÿ When the branch opened, weÿbecame the first andÿonlyÿfinancial institutionÿto operate in the Central City community inÿnearlyÿ40 years.ÿÿThe opening marked another milestoneÿin the revitalization of theÿCentral City Community.ÿÿÿOur Grand Opening was a celebration of many community groups and leaders that had identified affordable financial services as a critical element in the continued rebirth of the Central City business district along O.C. Haley Blvd.ÿ
Like the rest of New Orleans and the Mississippi Gulf Coast, Katrina forced our staff to evacuate and the branch to cease operations.ÿ We were fortunate to find, several weeks later, that early reports of damage in the branch were inaccurate and our manager was able to return to her home after six weeks on the road in Dallas, Lafayette, Monroe, and Lafayette (again).ÿ Since her return we have been working to re-establish operations, hire staff, and begin outreach to residents and organizations returning to New Orleans.ÿ In doing so, we are part of, and witness to, miracles on a regular basis as New Orleans and Katrina-affected areas come back to life, rebuild, and move forward.
Over the holiday break, HOPE was fortunate to have the assistance of several HBS students who gave up their winter break to work with organizationsÿin New Orleans trying to get back on track in the aftermath of the Hurricane.ÿ A team of HBS students including Tony Davella, Tawan Davis, Parker Hume, Mike Stern,ÿand Adam Weber came to New Orleans and worked with our Branch Manager andÿher staff.ÿ The HBS team contacted non-profit organizations and churches to determine their level of operations and to offer HOPE’s assistance for their employees/members especially those who fall into the low-to-moderate income brackets.ÿÿThe HBS team was able to hit the ground runningÿand generated confirmed contacts/leads with over 100 organizations.ÿ Theseÿinvaluable leads will provide the basis for HOPE’s outreach as HOPEÿusesÿits products and servicesÿto help rebuildÿNew Orleansÿin the coming months and years.ÿ
HOPE’s clients include many folk who do not qualify for services at traditional financial institutions and are often relegated to the high-cost world of check cashers, pay day lendersÿand the like.ÿÿOn behalf of our current and future clients, weÿcommend Tony, Tawan, Parker, Mike and Adam for theÿgenerous gift of time, effort, and creativityÿthey have provided HOPE.ÿ
Alan P. Branson
Executive Vice President
Hope Community Credit Union