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Hunter settles into new role as chief lending officer at Alternatives FCU

By Eric Reinhardt (ereinhardt@cnybj.com)

Date:

ITHACA, N.Y. — James Hunter is now a few months into his new role as chief lending officer at Alternatives Federal Credit Union (FCU) in Ithaca.

Alternatives, which is located at 125 N. Fulton St. in downtown Ithaca, announced Hunter’s hiring in November. 

Before coming to Ithaca, he most recently served as executive director of lending  and mortgage director of real-estate lending  at New Orleans Firemen’s Federal Credit Union in Metairie, Louisiana, a $182 million asset credit union. Hunter has the credit-union development educator (CUDE) certification from the National Credit Union Foundation, per an Alternatives FCU news release. 

Hunter says his mission is to help underserved communities tap the financial resources they need.

“Too many people are so far away from the starting line. That’s why I have devoted my life’s work to moving the goalposts to ensure equity,” Hunter said. “Financial inclusion and empowerment are fundamental rights, especially for those who have either been traditionally underbanked, underserved, underinsured, and underappreciated. It is my sincere goal to ensure that everyone has an equal start, and that begins with mission-driven, service-based lending, financial planning, and inclusive visioning.” 

During his time in Louisiana, Hunter spearheaded the creation of the Faith Fund. It is a nonprofit designed to help individuals and families better manage their money, escape predatory lending, and work toward financial stability. In Hunter’s words, the Faith Fund provided a “financial hand-up to the underserved.”

In addition, Hunter earlier worked at HOPE Federal Credit Union, a $350 million asset community development credit union, based in Jackson, Mississippi. He served as senior VP of mortgage for the credit union, leading its mortgage division.

“During his tenure, mortgage lending increased by 117 percent, generating more than $50 million in loans across the Deep South, one of the most impoverished regions of the nation. In 2017, 99 percent of HOPE’s mortgage loans were high impact loans made to first-time homebuyers, BIPOC persons [black, Indigenous and people of color], and women. These loans also supported and highlighted the community development financial institution’s mission to improve the lives of vulnerable families in a five-state service region,” per the website www.Inclusiv.org, the new name of the New York City–based National Federation of Community Development Credit Unions. 

“His lifelong commitment to mission-driven lending, combined with being a champion of credit union service-work, makes him a highly-regarded national leader in the financial industry,” Eric Levine, CEO of Alternatives Federal Credit Union, said. 

Founded in 1979, Alternatives Federal Credit Union says it is a community development financial institution (CDFI) “dedicated to building wealth and creating economic opportunity for underserved people and communities.” 

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