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March 17 2015

Bank of the West Continues Commitment to Operation HOPE With $800,000 toward Financial Education and Asset Building

Operation HOPE recognizes Bank of the West Chairman and CEO Michael Shepherd with the Silver Rights Award

LOS ANGELES – March 17, 2015 –Operation HOPE (HOPE) has announced that it received an $800,000 two-year commitment from Bank of the West to support financial education and asset-building  programs in Los Angeles, the San Francisco Bay Area and Denver.

In recognition of Bank of the West’s dedication to financial education and asset building, this year, Chairman and CEO Michael Shepherd was honored with the HOPE Silver Rights Award.

“Since 2000, Bank of the West has worked with Operation HOPE as a champion for financial independence in underserved communities,” said John Hope Bryant, HOPE founder and CEO. “Today, we thank Bank of the West for their devoted partnership over the years and also honor Chairman and CEO Michael Shepherd for both his service to Operation HOPE and his passion for financial education, inclusion and dignity for all. Through Bank of the West’s leadership, the first HOPE Inside resource center, which is located inside a Bank of the West branch, is now the model for all HOPE Inside locations nationwide.”

“Bank of the West has been privileged to collaborate with HOPE over the years knowing that we’re making a positive difference for thousands of individuals and families in the neighborhoods we serve,” Shepherd said. “All of us at Bank of the West are committed to playing an active role in building financially healthy communities. We know there is additional work to be done in this area, and we’ll continue to actively invest in programs that contribute to asset building, neighborhood revitalization and a stronger economy.”

Over the next two years, the bank’s funding will support:

·         Three HOPE Inside resource centers co-located within Bank of the West branches;

·         Youth empowerment programs – Banking on Our Future, a classroom outreach program that teaches financial basics, including the importance of savings, and HOPE Business in A Box Academy, a classroom curriculum that cultivates workforce development skills in young people; and

·         Operation HOPE Forum events:

The funded programs also complement Bank of the West’s community outreach activities in elementary through high school classrooms, as throughout the academic year, employee volunteers and Operation HOPE staff facilitate financial education lessons to thousands of students in underserved urban markets.

Previous recipients of the HOPE Silver Rights Award for their community development activities in underserved communities include financial services and public sector leaders such as Richard Cordray, Director of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, and Andrew Young, former U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations. 

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About Operation HOPE

Since its founding in 1992, Operation HOPE's mission has been to promote "silver rights" and make free enterprise and capitalism work for the underserved. The social investment banking nonprofit has provided financial literacy and economic empowerment services to more than 2.2 million people, raised nearly $2 billion in economic activity for the disenfranchised. Follow Operation HOPE at  www.operationhope.org, on twitter.com/operationhope, and facebook.com/operationhope. 

About Bank of the West

Bank of the West is a regional financial services company chartered in California and headquartered in San Francisco with $71.7 billion in assets. Founded in 1874, Bank of the West provides a wide range of personal, commercial, wealth management and international banking services through more than 650 offices in 22 states and digital channels. Bank of the West is a subsidiary of BNP Paribas, which has a presence in more than 75 countries with 185,000 employees.