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June 06 2007

Citi Support Anchors Launch of First International Operation HOPE Office

As HOPE's First Global Partner and Founding Signature Partner Citi Foundation's $100,000 Award Expands "Banking on Our Future" Programme to South Africa

JOHANNESBURG, SOUTH AFRICA  -- June 06, 2007 -- Banking on a growing South Africa, Operation HOPE\'s (HOPE) first global partner, Citi Foundation, has awarded $100,000 to the financial literacy and empowerment organization, to help open the doors to the nonprofit organisation\'s first international office in Johannesburg, South Africa. This commitment will establish Citi Foundation as a Founding Signature Partner for the overseas programme. The office is set to open on June 7 at CIDA City Campus. The goal is to recruit, train and mobilize more than 250 professional HOPE Corps volunteers to educate 50,000 South African youth and young adults in financial literacy, dignity and entrepreneurship.

"We are pleased to support Operation HOPE and the expansion of a programme that empowers young people in underserved communities to become more knowledgeable about personal finance," said President and CEO, Citi Foundation, Pamela Flaherty. "At Citi, we are dedicated to providing quality financial education programs to help people of all ages learn how to build their financial lives. We believe that providing financial education to young people today will help build strong communities tomorrow."

"Roughly half of South African adults do not use financial services and may be seen as financially excluded or un-banked. The implications of a lack of access to banking services are severe as it affects the ability of a household to receive salaries and other transfers, to make payments, or to accumulate cash surpluses for planned expenses or emergencies. We at Citi applaud initiatives such as Operation HOPE to address these issues," said Donna Oosthuyse, Chief Operating Officer, Citi Africa Division.

Banking on Our Future is American-based Operation HOPE\'s award-winning initiative to empower youth with the basics of wise money management. Traditionally the programme covers four basic modules of banking, savings, checking and investment. BOOFSA has been retooled to meet the specific needs of the culture. The South Africa curriculum includes dignity building and entrepreneurship components. The stronger business modules and dignity pieces have been customized to promote self-reliance, self-esteem and self-sufficiency.

Operation HOPE Founder, Chairman and CEO John Hope Bryant, said, "Operation HOPE is pleased to have the support of Citi Foundation, our first global partner, to come on board as a Founding Signature Partner. We applaud their commitment to the empowerment of low-wealth communities. Through their investment in \'silver rights\' we will be able to positively impact the lives of thousands of youth and young women in South Africa."

Banking on Our Future\'s expansion into South Africa is in line with the mission of both organisations to bring economic self-sufficiency and a sustained spirit of revitalisation to the underserved communities. Before expanding to Africa, the programme\'s proven success includes Oprah\'s Angel Network Use Your Life Award and the U.S. Treasury Department\'s John Sherman Award for Financial Literacy Excellence. In the last 10 years, some 4,000 HOPE Corp volunteers have educated more than 225,000 youth to date.

In 2004, Citi and the Citi Foundation announced a 10-year, $200 million global financial education commitment, the formation of a new Office of Financial Education and a global initiative designed to encourage its 300,000 employees around the world to devote time to support financial education and other charitable causes.

About Citi

Citi, the leading global financial services company, has some 200 million customer accounts and does business in more than 100 countries, providing consumers, corporations, governments and institutions with a broad range of financial products and services, including consumer banking and credit, corporate and investment banking, securities brokerage, and wealth management. Major brand names under the trademark red arc include: Citibank, CitiFinancial, Primerica, Citi Smith Barney and Banamex. Additional information may be found at or

About Citi Foundation

The Citi Foundation supports organizations that help people improve their lives, businesses to grow, and communities to prosper around the world. The Citi Foundation focuses its grants primarily in three areas: financial education, educating the next generation, and building communities and entrepreneurs. Additional information can be found at