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March 31 2011

New Name for HOPE Financial Literacy Empowerment Centers Comes to Life

Los Angeles – March 31, 2011 – In preparation for the start of National Financial Literacy Month, Operation HOPE, Inc., (HOPE) officially announced that the HOPE Banking Center Network will now be called the HOPE Financial Literacy Empowerment Centers (HOPE Centers). The name change was made to give a more holistic overview to the programs and services offered.

“Operation HOPE has continued to evolve, meeting the needs and concerns of the communities we serve,” said John Hope Bryant, founder, chairman and CEO of HOPE. “The HOPE Financial Literacy Empowerment Centers offer everything from lessons in the language of money and credit counseling, to helping individuals understand and navigate through the challenges that they would surely have to navigate as entrepreneurs. Our objective here is to not only help people do more with the money that they make but also to provide them with a sense of empowerment so that they can take control of their lives. This is what HOPE is about.”

Since 1992, HOPE has established nine “one stop” brick- and-mortar community-based Centers focused on improving the economic quality of life for individuals, families and communities through financial programs that sustain and create stakeholders in low-wealth neighborhoods.

There are HOPE Centers located in Long Beach, CA, Los Angeles, CA, Maywood, CA, South Gate, CA, New York, NY, Oakland, CA, Washington, D.C. and New Orleans, LA. Miami, FL is home to a HOPE Express office and the “virtual” HOPE Center, where toll-free services are hosted, is housed in Poway, CA.

A flagship Operation HOPE Financial Literacy Empowerment Center at Ebenezer Baptist Church to be housed at the Martin Luther King, Sr. Community Resource Facility in Atlanta, GA is currently under construction. HOPE expects to open another location in New Orleans, LA in the near future.

Momentum for the Atlanta HOPE Center, Ebenezer at the King Sr. Complex continues to build as partners such as SunTrust Bank, LPL Financial, State Farm Insurance, Wells Fargo, MasterCard and Coca Cola have helped make this vision a reality.

First launched in 1996, the original vision for the HOPE Centers was to open locations in areas that didn’t have a physical banking presence in order to help make financial resources more accessible to underserved communities. HOPE Centers are recognized by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) as an approved housing and foreclosure prevention counseling agency and are supported with over 250 public, private and community sector partnerships including federal government agencies such as HUD, the Small Business Administration (SBA) and the Department of Commerce’s Economic Development Administration (EDA), along with federally insured banks, credit unions and community- and faith-based organizations.

Other HOPE Center services include:  
•    Home Buyer and Foreclosure Prevention Workshops (HUD-Approved)
•    Credit and Money Management Workshops
•    Small Business Development Workshops
•    Entrepreneurial Training Classes
•    Cyber-Cafes
•    Mortgage and Business Lending
•    Homeownership, Foreclosure, Credit and Money Management Counseling
•    Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC) Workshops

By converting check cashing customers into banking customers, renters into homeowners and dreamers into viable business owners, HOPE Centers assist the underserved increase their net worth while working towards Operation HOPE’s “silver rights” mission to eradicate poverty and promote prosperity.

Since 1996, the HOPE Centers have served over 950,000 customers, educated over 71,000 adults, provided one-on-one counseling to over 32,000 clients and funded more than $664 million in loans.