Since its founding in 1994, the Enterprise Corporation of the Delta (ECD) has worked to break the cycle of poverty in the Delta regions of Arkansas, Louisiana, and Mississippi. Through its network of ten offices, the organization offers an array of commercial and mortgage loans, consumer financial services (through Hope Community Credit Union), and technical assistance programs. As the primary financial institution serving low-wealth residents in areas devastated by Hurricanes Katrina and Rita, ECD/HOPE has cumulatively provided over $300 million in financing to consumers, homeowners, and small businesses.
ECD and its affiliate, Hope Community Credit Union (ECD/HOPE), convert deposits into development credit and financial services. ECD/HOPE supplements these services by marshalling private, public and philanthropic resources to tackle hurdles facing low-income communities including jobs, housing and childcare.
Commercial Loans: ECD/HOPEís business loans target people and communities underserved by traditional lending institutions, placing emphasis on community infrastructure sectors including childcare, healthcare and affordable housing. ECD/HOPE mitigates risk and leverages resources by making use of public guarantee and credit enhancement programs.
Mortgage Loans : Through the HOPE Mortgage Program, ECD/HOPE originates and purchases non-conforming mortgages made to low- and moderate-income families throughout the Mid-South with the goal of increasing the number of homeowners and the quality of housing in the region.
Consumer Financial Services: Through transaction accounts and financial services provided by HOPE, ECD/HOPE provides low- to moderate-income families and individuals with alternative to predatory lenders, offering socially responsible lenders a safe and convenient means to support community development.
Technical Assistance: ECD/HOPE brokers a range of technical assistance for its customers including entrepreneurial training, home buyer training, and financial literacy workshops. These services are provided by ECD and partners, such as community groups, educational institutions, public agencies, and private consultants.
ECD serves low-to-moderate income individuals in an area that consistently ranks lowest among states on socioeconomic indicators. Low education levels, out-migration, scarcity of resources and racial disparities are barriers to business development and home ownership throughout the Mid South. 53% of ECDís clients live in rural areas and 47% live in minor urban areas.
ECDís portfolio as of the fourth quarter 2003 included 59% African American and 50% female commercial borrowers. HOPE mortgage closings include 56% minority and 55% female head-of-household borrowers. Additionally, 50% of ECDís clients are women.
FY2003 ECD lending:
- Closed $6.8 million in loans to 20 small and medium-sized
- 71.4% of loans were made to minority- and/or women-owned businesses.
- Supported the creation or retention of 717 fulltime equivalent jobs.
Small Business Administration guarantees on half of the loans made to start-ups.
- Was the
only company to make venture investments in Mississippi.
Since 1994, ECD has:
- Generated over $150 million in financing for businesses in distressed communities.
- Assisted more than 10,000 individuals and assisted hundreds of entrepreneurs, homebuyers
and community development projects;
- Supported the creation or retention of 3,875 jobs, 2,652 filled by low-income individuals.
While Sylvia Dixon had the ability and desire to expand the Little Darling Child Care Center, like many entrepreneurs in her region, she was unable to qualify for traditional financing. With a loan of $148,000 from ECD she was able to purchase the capital necessary to expand her service for the predominantly single-parent, low-income clientele that she serves. Full Story