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December 08 2016

John Hope Bryant Recognized as 2016 "Innovator of the Year" by American Banker Magazine

ATLANTA –  Dec. 8, 2016 – Global financial dignity and economic empowerment nonprofit Operation HOPE, Inc. announced today that its founder, chairman, and CEO, John Hope Bryant, has been recognized as the "2016 Innovator of the Year" by American Banker magazine. The award recognizes Bryant for his vision of delivering "silver rights" through Operation HOPE's programs and network. Most notably, the HOPE Inside model was highlighted for delivering individual and social impact while simultaneously generating business impact for Operation HOPE partners. This Innovator of the Year award acknowledges the efforts of John Hope Bryant, Operation HOPE, every HOPE Inside financial wellbeing coach, and each early adopter partner who believed in the vision.

"I am humbled and honored to receive this award from American Banker," Bryant said. "The hard work and dedication of our HOPE Inside financial wellbeing coaches around the nation continues to help people take ownership of their lives and create a more secure financial future. The collective way forward to financial empowerment must be building up communities torn down and incapacitated by lack of equity. These coaches are leading our mission to uplift communities through financial dignity. They are the true architects and the true innovators."

The Innovator of the Year award is one of the publication's annual "Best in Banking" recognition designations given to leaders and institutions in the banking and finance industry. This is the second time in the award's 15-year history that a financial nonprofit and its leader have been selected.

"For developing a model that promotes financial inclusion, generates business for banks and gives branches a new purpose at a time of declining foot traffic, American Banker is honoring Bryant as the 2016 Innovator of the Year."—John Heltman, American Banker, 12-01-2016

HOPE Inside is a unique financial empowerment model that brings Operation HOPE financial dignity programming to underserved communities, free to the client. Ithas allowed private financial institutions to scale, and sustainably package and deliver, financial literacy and empowerment programming. HOPE Inside, which provides clients with the fundamentals to build their own businesses, raise their credit scores, buy homes, or simply make better decisions with the money they have, had its genesis in bank branches, but widespread market adoption continues to bring sponsored offices to government facilities, grocery stores, hospitals, college campuses, and other community locations, including, Whole Foods, Hyatt Hotels, Detroit Medical Center, and Atlanta Public Safety Headquarters.

Today, there are 46 existing HOPE Inside locations across the nation, and commitments for more than 250 new offices within the next 18 months. On Nov. 1, SunTrust Bank, an early adopter of the HOPE Inside model, announced a historic commitment to expand HOPE Inside SunTrust from seven existing branch locations to 200 by 2020. The expansion will increase the program's annual impact to 150,000 individuals across the bank's branch footprint. With strategic banking partners, including, SunTrust Bank, Bank of the West, Fifth Third Bank, Mutual of Omaha, Wells Fargo, BB&T, First Tennessee Bank, Fulton Financial Corporation, CIT, MetaBank, First National Bank, Banco Popular, PNC, Level One Bank, Regions Bank, Huntington Bank, and Cathay Bank, Operation HOPE is delivering financial empowerment to communities that need it most.

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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 Twitter @operationhope