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January 01 2004

Operation HOPE Honors Financial Literacy Partners & Volunteers

Salute & Recruit Event Celebrates Banking on Our Future Sponsors and Teachers

Atlanta - Today, Operation HOPE, Inc., a national provider of financial literacy and economic empowerment programs, honored its outstanding Banking on Our Future sponsors and teachers at the One Ninety One Club in Atlanta. The event is part of an 11-city Salute & Recruit Volunteer Recognition Tour honoring Operation HOPE's Banking on Our Future partners and HOPE Corps volunteers.

At the Salute & Recruit event, Operation HOPE presented the Chairman's HOPE Award to the Honorable John Oxendine, Georgia Insurance and Safety Fire Commissioner. Laura Sherman, Wachovia Insurance Services Senior Vice President, was honored as Recruiter of the Year. ING Foundation was honored as Sponsor of the Year.

Also at the event, Operation HOPE recognized the Harry & Jeanette Weinberg Foundation, ING DIRECT, and ING Foundation as national Salute & Recruit sponsors. GE Consumer Finance, ING DIRECT, the ING Foundation, MAG Mutual, the U.S. Department of Commerce Economic Development Administration, and Wachovia Bank were recognized for sponsoring the Atlanta Banking on Our Future program.

Through the Banking on Our Future program, HOPE Corps volunteers from financial industries and government agencies have delivered financial literacy education and related services to more than 135,000 children at more than 500 schools and community-based organizations across the country.

About Operation HOPE, Inc.

Operation HOPE, Inc. (OHI) is America's first nonprofit social investment bank and a national provider of financial literacy and economic empowerment programs. Through ongoing collaborations and long-term partnerships with leading government, private sector, and community interests, OHI works to bring self-sufficiency and a sustained spirit of revitalization to America's inner-city communities. OHI's HOPE Centers, a growing network of inner-city banking centers, have created more than 800 new homeowners and small business owners, more than $125 million in funded loans, and more than $212 million in commitments for homeownership and small business loans from their 250 bank and corporate partners. OHI's Banking on Our Future program has delivered financial literacy education and related services to more than 135,000 children across the country. In partnership with the U.S. Department of Homeland Security, the Federal Emergency Management Agency, and a network of private and community partners, OHI's HOPE Coalition America has provided free financial counseling and casework services to more than 1,000 Americans affected by natural disasters and national emergencies in 125 cities in 35 states. Taken together, these programs make Operation HOPE the national leader in economic empowerment tools and services for the under-served in America.