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January 01 2004

Banking on Our Future in Atlanta! ING and Operation HOPE, Inc., Unite to Teach Urban Kids the ABCs of Managing Money

Banking Class in Atlanta Schools Empowers Young People with the Skills They Need To Manage Their Financial Futures

Atlanta , GA – ING and Operation HOPE today announced an effort to bring Banking on Our Future, a program that teaches children the basics of financial literacy, to Atlanta schools. ING Foundation President and Head of Community Relations, Rhonda Mims , Georgia State Insurance and Industrial Loan Commissioner John Oxendine , and Special Projects Coordinator for Atlanta Public Schools , Carolyn Hart , joined Operation HOPE Founder, Chairman and CEO John Bryant at Austin T. Walden Middle School, to announce the establishment of a new Banking on Our Future chapter in Atlanta.

The ING Foundation has provided funding to establish a Banking on Our Future chapter in Atlanta, where a program coordinator from Operation HOPE will work to recruit banking and corporate “HOPE Corps” members to teach financial literacy in Atlanta schools.

“Future financial success begins with a sound financial education,” said Mims. “ING is committed to enhancing the opportunity for all people to build a more secure financial future, and Operation HOPE offers Atlanta’s children a solid foundation.”

The Jump$tart Coalition recently released a survey of more than 4,000 high school students in 33 states, which measured 12th graders’ level of knowledge of personal finance basics. While the study found that there were modest gains in financial literacy, 65.5 percent of students failed the exam and only 6.1 percent scored a C or better.

“One of the biggest social problems that faces our country is financial illiteracy,” said Commissioner Oxendine. “I have personally committed to doing something about this problem in Georgia by joining with Operation HOPE and ING to bring Banking on Our Future to Atlanta’s children.”

Banking on Our Future is a financial literacy initiative established in 1996 to teach children the basics of managing their financial futures and surviving in a global economy. It is currently the only national year round urban delivery platform for economic literacy in the country today, operating in eight states and the District of Columbia.

"In Atlanta, our comprehensive school reform initiative is improving student achievement, in part, by challenging our students and by providing them with engaging academic programs that broaden their educational experience,” said Dr. Beverly Hall, Superintendent of Atlanta Public Schools. "In that respect, Banking on Our Future is a quality enrichment program that serves as a perfect supplement to our curriculum."

Using a growing network of 1,500 trained volunteer banker-teachers who serve as HOPE Corps Members, Banking on Future has provided the Banking on Our Future to more than 126, 000 students nationwide. Banking on Our Future teaches four core modules:
  • The basics of banking;
  • How to open and maintain a checking and savings account;
  • The power of credit; and
  • Basic investments.
"Financial literacy is one of the most powerful life skills that we can give to our children,” said Kwanza Hall, District 1 Representative for the Atlanta Board of Education. I commend John Byrant, ING, Commissioner Oxendine and Superintendent Beverly Hall for making the Banking on Our Future program possible and I urge Atlanta\'s financial services industry to support a district wide rollout."

A 2003 survey by the Federal Reserve Bank of Boston showed that test scores of 35 students in the Dearborn After-School Academy (DASA) at Dearborn Middle School, improved by 700 percent following four weeks of BOOF sessions with volunteer banker-teachers from the Federal Reserve Bank of Boston and the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC).

“Education is the ultimate poverty eradication tool, and financial literacy is one of the most important issues facing our nation today,” said Mr. Bryant “The commitment of ING will ensure that we reach our goal of educating all of our children how to take control of their financial futures. When our kids know better, they do better, and that’s what Banking on Our Future is all about.”

In addition to sessions taught at schools throughout the country, the Banking on Our Future program is available online through a partnership between Wells Fargo & Co. and Operation HOPE at

Banking on Our Future is also a partner in the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation’s Money Smart financial literacy program that works to educate the whole family.

About ING

ING Groep N.V. (NYSE: ING) is one of the largest integrated financial services companies in the world, providing insurance, banking, and asset management products. The company strives to provide an innovative, client-focused approach to its financial products and services through strategic global distribution channels. In the U.S., ING offers a comprehensive array of financial services to retail and institutional clients which include financial planning, mutual funds, retirement plans, managed accounts, alternative investments, direct banking, institutional investment management, annuities, life insurance, employee benefits, and reinsurance. ING holds top-tier rankings in key U.S. markets and serves over 14 million customers across the nation. Globally, ING serves over 60 million private, corporate, and institutional clients throughout 50 countries. For more information, visit ING is not affiliated with the other entities mentioned in this release.

About Operation HOPE,

Operation HOPE, Inc. is a national non-profit self-help organization working to bring economic self-sufficiency to inner-city residents and low-wealth communities. With more than $185 million in commitments from its 150 bank and corporate partners for homeownership and small business loans, $117 million in funded loans and over 500,000 customers served in economic education and services, Operation HOPE is a national leader in providing economic empowerment tools and services.