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April 22 2016

Synovus Extends Support with Financial Match for Youth Programs in Birmingham

Financial commitment by Synovus will amplify the impact of youth financial education and empowerment programs provided by Operation HOPE in Birmingham, Ala.

ATLANTA – April 22, 2016 – Synovus has expanded its partnership with Operation HOPE, Inc., with a financial contribution in support of financial literacy education and empowerment programs for youth in Birmingham, Ala. The funds will provide the required match component of a three-year public/private partnership between Operation HOPE, the Appalachia Regional Commission, the Woodlawn Foundation, and Birmingham City Schools, which began in 2015. 

“We are excited to extend our relationship with Operation HOPE to Birmingham, and are proud that this contribution will help empower the public/private partnerships that are doing such important work in the city,” said Allan Kamensky, Synovus General Counsel and a member of the Operation HOPE Southeastern Board of Directors.

Operation HOPE has a significant presence in Birmingham, impacting over 600 students in three local schools with financial literacy education in 2015, and providing credit counseling and small business development coaching services to adults via the HOPE Inside Birmingham office at on 20th Street South.  

“We are grateful to Synovus for their support of our work in Atlanta, and now in Birmingham, to help bridge the divide between those who live with financial dignity and those who don’t by providing low- and moderate-income individuals access to financial education, homeownership counseling, and entrepreneurial training otherwise not available to them,” said Louis Negrón, President, Atlanta Market Region; Oversight Executive, Southeast Region, Operation HOPE, Inc. “In 2016 we plan to continue educating and empowering young people in Birmingham by adding Banking On Our Future programs to two more schools to reach an additional 429 students.”

The importance of academic success and work skills training to living a financially self-sustained life with dignity, is underscored in the Birmingham area. Data collected in Jefferson County in 2012 revealed that an estimated 11,377 low-income low-opportunity youth cost taxpayers around $165.5 million in lost tax revenues and increased costs for social services annually—a little over $14,000 per youth. There are three main risk factors facing Birmingham youth:  1) Poverty – 21 percent of Jefferson County families are living below the poverty level; 2) Low educational attainment – the Alabama School Connection reported a 9 percent dropout or no-show rate and a 75 percent cohort graduation rate; and 3) Lack of employment possibilities or work experience – more than 27 percent of the youth labor force in Jefferson County, aged 16-19 years old, are unemployed.

Operation HOPE and Synovus first partnered in 2015 on youth and adult programming at the HOPE Inside Ebenezer center, located at Atlanta’s historic Ebenezer Baptist Church. In August of 2015, Operation Hope and Synovus opened Columbus, Georgia’s first HOPE Inside at the CB&T branch on Benning Road.

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About Synovus Financial Corp.

Synovus Financial Corp. is a financial services company based in Columbus, Georgia, with approximately $29 billion in assets. Synovus provides commercial and retail banking, investment, and mortgage services to customers through 28 locally-branded divisions, 257 branches, and 336 ATMs in Georgia, Alabama, South Carolina, Florida, and Tennessee. Synovus Bank, a wholly owned subsidiary of Synovus, was recognized as one of America's Most Reputable Banks by American Banker and the Reputation Institute in 2015. Synovus is on the web at synovus.com, on Twitter @synovus, and on LinkedIn at http://linkedin.com/company/synovus

About Operation HOPE, Inc.

Since 1992, Operation HOPE has been moving America from civil rights to "silver rights" with the mission of making free enterprise and capitalism work for the underserved. Through its core programs, the social investment banking nonprofit has provided financial dignity and economic empowerment to over 2.6 million individuals worldwide, and $2 billion in economic activity for the disenfranchised—turning check cashing customers into banking customers, renters into homeowners, small business dreamers into small business owners and minimum wage workers into living wage consumers.  Project 5117 is HOPE’s multi-year four-pronged approach to combating economic inequality that aims to improve financial literacy, increase business role models and business internships for youth, and stabilize the American dream by boosting credit scores. For more information: www.operationhope.org