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July 27 2011

Nation’s Leaders Converge at New York HOPE Forum to Chart Course for American’s Economic Revival

Historic conference makes business case for economic empowerment and financial literacy for the underserved

NEW YORK—July 27 – Leaders from across the nation gathered at the New York Stock Exchange last week for an historic two-day conference focused on revitalizing the American economy through investment in underserved communities.

The forum, hosted by Operation HOPE, NYSE Euronext and the New York Bankers Association, brought together government officials, entrepreneurs, and financial industry leaders to discuss the future of the financial services industry, post economic crisis and the role financial literacy will play in bringing about an economic revival. See a complete list of our sponsors and partners here.

Opening Remarks

First Panel Discussion

Partner Announcement

Luncheon Keynote

Second Panel Discussion

“We welcome the opportunity to advance the economic recovery of America. Discussions like these are critical to the revival and resurgence of our economy,” said event co-hosts John Hope Bryant, Founder, Chairman and CEO Operation HOPE, Michael P. Smith, President and CEO New York Bankers Association, and Duncan Niederauer, CEO and Director NYSE Euronext. “The success of this Forum further sets the stage for broader, livelier and more constructive discourses around the revitalization of the capitalist system.”

The event kicked off on July 20 with an evening reception on the NYSE Euronext Trading Floor, followed by a day-long forum upstairs in the Main Dining Room on July 21.

The reception concluded with keynote remarks from the Bell Podium by Ari Matusiak, Executive Director of the White House Business Council and Civil Rights Legend and HOPE Global Spokesman Ambassador Andrew Young. The forum, meanwhile, opened with remarks by the forum's Master of Ceremonies, Kelvin Boston, best known for his role as Executive Producer and Host of Moneywise.

The full-house conference included two panel discussions featuring financial services CEOs, foundation presidents, regulators, policymakers, nonprofit leaders and pioneers in financial media. Job creation, cross-sector collaboration, financial education and investment in low-income communities were dominant themes throughout the two panels.

The first panel, moderated by Senior CNBC Analyst Ron Insana, sought to make the business case for financial literacy. Speaking truth to power on the issue, Steve Bartlett of the Financial Services Roundtable, warned that the financial services community will fail unless it educates its employees and customers. Meanwhile, Geraldine Walsh of FINRA, explained that those employees and customers, who are America’s low to moderate income citizens, rank among the lowest in the world when it comes to financial education.

The panel featured the following participants:

  • Steve Bartlett: President and CEO, The Financial Services Roundtable
  • Ketherine Busser: Executive Vice President, Capital One Bank
  • Kim David: President, JP Morgan Chase Foundation
  • Steven Freiberg: Chief Executive Officer, E*TRADE Financial
  • Michael P. Smith: President, New York Bankers Association
  • Geraldine Walsh: Vice President of Investor Education, FINRA
  • Tim Wennes: Vice Chairman, Union Bank
  • Ambassador Andrew Young: Chairman, GoodWorks Intl. and HOPE Global Spokesman

 

The second panel, moderated by CNBC Anchor Maria Bartiroma, focused on the future of the financial services industry and its effect on consumers, business and underserved communities.

Underscoring the importance of empowering low-income communities, Krishna Guha of the Federal Reserve Bank of New York spoke about the roots of the economic crisis and how sub-prime mortgages in low income communities ultimately impacted the whole financial system. Echoing Guha’s point, Daniel Eckert of Wal-Mart shared first-hand knowledge of how the national chain has been affected because so many of its customers live paycheck to paycheck.

The second panel included the following speakers:

  • John Hope Bryant: Founder, Chairman and CEO, Operation HOPE, Inc.
  • Jim Clifton: Chief Executive Officer, Gallup, Inc.
  • Michelle Greene: Vice President and Head of Corporate Responsibility, NYSE Euronext
  • Kirshna Guha: Executive Vice President for Communications, Federal Reserve Bank of New York
  • Noah J. Hanft: General Counsel, Corporate Secretary, Chief Franchise Integrity Officer, MasterCard Worldwide
  • Pravina Raghavan: District Director, New York Small Business Administration
  • Daniel Eckert: Vice President of Financial Services, Wal-Mart

 

Panel discussions and keynote remarks focused on finding a broad vision for the future of the financial services industry. Participants also addressed the vital need for public and private sector investment in initiatives aimed at economic empowerment, entrepreneurship and financial education.

Guests at the forum were also treated to keynote remarks by Don Graves, Executive Director of the President’s Council on Jobs and Competitiveness, as well as video remarks from U.S. Senator Daniel Akaka and a live phone call from Congresswoman Sheila Jackson Lee. Both congressional leaders recognized the significance of the HOPE New York Financial Literacy Forum and expressed the importance of financial education as a critical component to individual and national long-term well-being.

The forum ultimately sought to raise awareness of the pivotal role financial education will play in the nation’s economic recovery and the need for collaboration across sectors in addressing the challenges facing entrepreneurs, small businesses, and underserved communities.

Speaking at the forum, Bryant noted that communism failed because it could not create a middle class, while capitalism succeeded precisely because it did create a middle class. But today, he continued, capitalism has failed because it has stopped working for the middle class.

"The poor have saved America on more than one occasion," Bryant explained, adding that ‘silver rights’ will now make free enterprise and capitalism work for the poor. "I believe that financial literacy is not a program it’s not a math class, it’s not an initiative it is literally the new civil rights movement for this country.”

The New York Financial Literacy Forum is the fourth conference in a series of HOPE Forum events, which have been held in Washington DC, Oakland, and Atlanta. HOPE Forums and Summits combine targeted keynote remarks that provide a vision for the future, global leadership town hall sessions that encourage strategic thinking and plenary sessions that focus on tangible and tactical actions that can bring about positive change.

About Operation HOPE
Founded in 1992, social empowerment nonprofit Operation HOPE's mission is to expand economic opportunity in under-resourced communities through financial literacy education. HOPE promotes "silver rights" - making free enterprise and capitalism relevant and effective for the underserved. Raising more than $500 million and directing and restructuring nearly $500 million more in mortgages and economic support from the private sector, for a total of approximately $1 billion dollars in economic activity, HOPE seeks dignity and empowerment for all. Follow Operation HOPE at www.operationhope.org, Twitter.com/operationhope, and Facebook.com/operationhope.

 

Conference Photos

 

Reception Photos