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January 01 2007

Operation HOPE Hosts First CRA Officer Luncheon in Los Angeles; CRA Officers Recognized for Empowering Under-served Communities

Los Angeles, CA—January 12, 2007—Operation HOPE (HOPE) blazed a new trail in Community Reinvestment (CRA), by hosting the first annual CRA Officer Luncheon on December 13, 2006. The event, held at the Federal Reserve Bank of Los Angeles, recognized CRA and Compliance Officers for their leadership, innovation, and dedication to promote community reinvestment by going above and beyond standard legal compliance. Wells Fargo Foundation’s Jonathan Weedman and Innovative Bank’s, Irene Kyonghee Ha became HOPE’s first CRA Plus Award recipients.

The event sets the stage for HOPE’s CRA Index, a report, which will recognize those in community reinvestment who go above regular CRA measurements to bring lending, investment and dedicated service to under-served communities. HOPE plans to hold CRA officer recognition luncheons in each of their major markets in 2007; this luncheon marks the first annual for Southern California.

As Operation HOPE seeks to redefine CRA as emerging market opportunities, the CRA Officer  Luncheon is our way of saying thank you to compliance officers and those involved in community reinvestment activities who work to exceed the standard CRA measurements,” said John Hope Bryant, founder, chairman, and chief executive officer of HOPE.   "We applaud their efforts to empower low-wealth communities and salute their commitment to promote opportunity for growth in these neighborhoods.”

Acknowledging his work for community reinvestment at the Wells Fargo Foundation, Regional Vice President Jonathan Weedman said upon receiving the CRA Plus Award, “It’s about how you help other people, and about changing lives…..that’s the result that is most important.”  He shared a quote by Dr. Martin Luther King, which provides him with inspiration, “An individual has not started living until he can rise above the narrow confines of his individualistic concerns to the broader concerns of all humanity.”

 The Wells Fargo Foundation has a proud history of supporting communities by promoting economic development and self-sufficiency through financial education, charitable contributions and affordable housing.

Innovative Bank’s loan officer, Irene Kyonghee Ha, is an expert in Small Business Administration loan opportunities at the bank.  Innovative Bank provides one of the most competitive suites of quality financial products and services in the Banking industry, catering to the small to mid-size business customers that are often overlooked by larger institutions.

Operation HOPE is a national self-help, education and economic empowerment organization, backed by more than 250 private sector banks, insurance companies, credit unions and financial service companies with more than $6 trillion in assets between them. The mission of Operation HOPE is to expand economic opportunity in under-served communities through economic education and empowerment. Operation HOPE improves the economic quality of life for individuals, families and communities through programs that create stakeholders: converting check cashing customers into banking customers, renters into homeowners, small business dreamers into small business owners, and minimum wage workers into living wage workers.

The CRA Officer Luncheon is another part of HOPE’s ongoing “silver rights” mission to promote access and resources to low wealth communities, recognizing CRA officers for their work of “doing well by doing good.”