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January 01 2004

Operation HOPE, Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago Team Up to Teach Financial Literacy During Money Smart Week

Federal Reserve Bank Event Empowers Young People To Manage Their Financial Futures

Chicago, IL – Operation HOPE, Founder, Chairman and CEO John Bryant and Alicia Williams, Vice President & Community Affairs Officer, today joined to teach financial literacy to hundreds of students as part of the Federal Reserve Bank’s Money Smart Week.

Hundreds of children from Chicago public schools toured the Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago and then participated in a Banking on Our Future Session taught by Bryant, Williams, and executives from Banco Popular North America, Marquette Bank, LaSalle Bank and The Private Bank and Trust Company.

“Education is the ultimate poverty eradication tool, and financial literacy is one of the most important issues facing our nation today,” said Mr. Bryant “Initiatives like Money Smart Week and the commitment of everyone involved 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 Money Smart Week and Banking on Our Future are all about.”

Banking on Our Future is a financial literacy initiative that teaches children the basics of managing their financial futures and surviving in a global economy. It is currently the only national urban delivery platform for financial literacy in the country today, operating in eight states and the District of Columbia. Using a growing network of 1,500 trained volunteer banker-teachers who serve as HOPE Corps Members, the Banking on Our Future initiative teaches four core modules, and to date has educated more than 126,000 youth about the basics of banking; how to open and maintain a checking and savings account; the power of credit; and basic investments.

Money Smart Week was created by the Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago along with members of its Money Smart Advisory Council, and is designed to help consumers better manage their finances and provide awareness of financial education programs available on topics such as budgeting and using credit wisely.

Money Smart Week was created during the first meeting of the Money Smart Advisory Council, and was held in Chicago for the first time in April 2002. Convened by Chicago Fed President Michael Moskow in July 2001, the council includes representatives from schools, libraries, community groups, banks, and city and state government agencies.

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.