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September 13 2016

Operation HOPE and CIT Partner to Open HOPE Inside Office at OneWest Bank in Escondido, California

HOPE Inside OneWest Bank – Escondido brings free financial literacy education and economic empowerment programs to local residents.

ATLANTA – Sept. 13, 2016 – Global financial dignity and empowerment nonprofit Operation HOPE,Inc., and financial holding company, CIT, have partnered to open a new HOPE Inside location at the OneWest Bank branch in Escondido, California. HOPE Inside OneWest Bank – Escondido will provide credit and money management coaching, free to clients, to help them take control of their money and create a more secure financial future. Leaders of CIT and Operation HOPE gathered today for a grand opening event to celebrate the new HOPE Inside location.

“We are grateful to CIT for their support as a strategic partner to open a new installation of HOPE Inside,” said Operation HOPE Founder, Chairman, and Chief Executive Officer John Hope Bryant. “We look forward to impacting this community by equipping people with the financial tools and training required to realize their aspirations and ensure their financial wellbeing.”

The HOPE Inside model has allowed private financial institutions to scale, and sustainably package and deliver, financial literacy and empowerment programming, free to the client. HOPE Inside had its genesis in bank branches, but widespread market adoption continues to bring sponsored offices to government facilities, grocery stores, hospitals, and other community locations as well.  Today, there are 50 existing locations across the nation, and commitments for more than 130 new offices within the next 18 months. With strategic partners, including, SunTrust Banks, Bank of the West, Mutual of Omaha, CIT, Wells Fargo, Coca-Cola, Whole Foods, and First Tennessee Bank, Operation HOPE is delivering financial empowerment to communities that need it most.

HOPE Inside programming includes credit and money management coaching, home buyer counseling, and entrepreneurship training. Staffed by Operation HOPE Financial Wellbeing Coaches, every HOPE Inside location holds consumer credit counseling certification, CFPB, FDIC, U.S. SBA, HUD, EITC, and FEMA applications and partnerships. Through the HOPE 700 Credit Score Communities initiative, the focus on raising client credit scores to 700 is at the foundation of all HOPE Inside programming.

“The client experience at HOPE Inside is rooted in financial dignity and empowerment,” Bryant said.  “The personalized one-on-one coaching process integrates four key steps: 1) Giving back dignity, 2) Reintroducing individuals to themselves, 3) Offering redemption, and 4) Providing opportunities through purpose-driven projects.”

Clients are counseled on the language of money and work to transform established financial mindsets, and to develop customized action plans around building their own businesses, raising their credit scores, buying homes, or simply making better decisions with the money they have.

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About Operation HOPE

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 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. Operation HOPE recently received its second consecutive 4-star charity rating for fiscal management and commitment to transparency and accountability by the prestigious non-profit evaluator, Charity Navigator—further establishing it as a best-in-class organization. For more information: www.OperationHOPE.org. Follow Operation HOPE on Facebook and Twitter @OperationHOPE.

About CIT/OneWest Bank

Founded in 1908, CIT (NYSE: CIT) is a financial holding company with more than $65 billion in financing and leasing assets. Its principal bank subsidiary, CIT Bank, N.A., (Member FDIC, Equal Housing Lender) has more than $30 billion of deposits and more than $40 billion of assets. It provides financing, leasing and advisory services principally to middle market companies across more than 30 industries primarily in North America, and equipment financing and leasing solutions to the transportation sector. It also offers products and services to consumers through its Internet bank franchise and a network of retail branches in Southern California, operating as OneWest Bank, a division of CIT Bank, N.A. - For more information: cit.com; onewestbank.com