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January 01 2009

Operation HOPE and John Hope Bryant Issue Statement of Support for President Barack Obama

Operation HOPE and John Hope Bryant issue statement of support for
President Barack Obama following White House briefing;
Call for enhanced consumer protection post-crisis

(Washington, D.C.) - October 9, 2009 - I was honored to join President Obama today at the White House where he spoke on "creating the ground rules (for the delivery of fair and reasonable financial services), expanding choice, and rewarding private sector innovation and competition.” Given Operation HOPE's and my 17-year plus mission around financial literacy education as a fundamental civil right, and teaching what I call “the language of money” as a progressive new American value and a global “silver rights” issue, I felt compelled to issue a statement of support around President Obama’s call for make-sense consumer protection. On the other side of this global crisis, and building on fundamental consumer protections, I believe that making sure that the next generation is financially literate, is the only real way that we ensure that this crisis never happens again.

We believe that consumer protection ultimately needs to address the issue that helped to cause the crisis -- regulating the largely unregulated financial service space, including unregulated and under-regulated mortgage bankers, mortgage brokers and other alternative financial service providers, as well as mainstream institutions. We believe that the ultimate answer should support consumer protection, a new and serious focus on financial literacy, encourage fair and reasonable access to capital, and help to support what we call “good capitalism” -- or a system of free enterprise and capitalism that uplifts, includes and empowers the poor and the under-served. We also believe that progressive consumer protection should be based on a fair and broad-based federal standard, provide a baseline of acceptable national best practices, encourage innovation, and encourage the fair provision of credit so that no one is left behind.

Finally, I and we believe that this crisis did not so much represent a failure of free enterprise and capitalism, per se, as it does the simple failure of greed. Done well, these consumer protections will help to curb future abuses and predatory practices, and also help honest innovation and good capitalism to flourish. If what we are facing is a crisis of virtues and values, these progressive consumer protections might help to create the environment for a new culture of good capitalism.

Operation HOPE has served more than one million individuals, including the poor and underserved impacted by Hurricane Katrina, middle income and working class Americans ravaged by the mortgage subprime crisis, under-served communities with little access to mainstream financial services, and children who receive little to no financial literacy education in school or college.

John Hope Bryant is the founder, chairman and CEO of Operation HOPE, vice chairman of the U.S. President's Advisory Council on Financial Literacy, as well as chairman of the Council's Committee on the Underserved, financial literacy advisor to the Global Agenda Council of the World Economic Forum, a Young Global Leaders for the World Economic Forum, and author of LOVE LEADERSHIP; A New Way to Lead in a Fear-Based World (Jossey-Bass), which debuted in August, 2009, #8 in the CEO Reads Top 10 Best Seller List.