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Sept. 6, 2018
This paid piece is sponsored by MetaBank.
John Hope Bryant is a man on a mission to improve people’s lives – one raised credit score at a time.
And he’s accomplishing it.
Through his nonprofit Operation HOPE, he and his team have helped almost 2 million people raise their credit scores and create a more secure future.
“Nothing changes your life more than God or love than moving your credit score 120 points in 24 months,” said Bryant, whose Atlanta-based nonprofit began more than two decades ago after the Los Angeles riots.
“If your credit score is 580, you’re in economic prison. You’re in a lot of pain. You’re paying 18 to 24 percent for a note, 12 percent for a mortgage if you can get one at all. If you have a 700 score, the world is your oyster. You aren’t a black person or white person or Latino person, you’re a ‘green’ person as in the color of U.S. currency.”
Operation HOPE works with clients to challenge errors on their credit report, take care of debt, increase financial literacy, learn credit and money management and move toward home and business ownership. Programs are offered at no cost to the client.
Through its programming model, HOPE Inside, the organization is now delivering HOPE through a defined network in every quadrant of the nation — 120 locations in both urban and rural communities in more than 22 states, connected with more than 40 partners. And there are commitments for 450 new HOPE Inside locations in the next 18 months, with a goal of commitments for 1,000 total operational locations by 2020.
“It’s not that people are dumb. It’s what they don’t know that they don’t know. Financial literacy isn’t being taught. It’s not just minorities who don’t get it,” Bryant said. “You have all these hardworking people who can’t figure out why they’re not achieving and succeeding and think it has to be a rigged game.”
Bryant will share his insights on financial literacy and the approach his nonprofit is taking at a free event at 6 p.m. Sept. 12 at the Washington Pavilion presented by MetaBank. To learn more and register, click here.
The first 200 people will receive a copy of Bryant’s new book, “The Memo: Five Rules for Your Economic Liberation.”
In it, he suggests true power comes from economic independence, but too many people don’t have enough money left at the end of the month. His message: The supermajority of people living in poverty, whom he calls “the invisible class,” and millions in the struggling middle class, haven’t learned the financial skills necessary for success.
In addition to being a best-selling author, philanthropist and the founder, chairman and CEO of Operation HOPE, Bryant is chairman and CEO of Bryant Group Ventures and The Promise Homes Company, the largest for-profit, minority-controlled owners of institutional quality, single-family residential homes in the U.S.
He was named innovator of the year in 2016 by American Banker magazine.
“He’s a very interesting guy. He’s a dynamic speaker, people love hearing him speak, and we just decided it was an opportunity to get the word out,” said Brad Hanson, president of Meta Financial Group, MetaBank and Meta Payment Systems and a board member for Operation HOPE.
“It’s something I think can contribute to people and organizations in the community. His take is that people just haven’t ‘got the memo,’ and if they can get that knowledge of how money works, it can have such an impact and difference in their lives.”
Meta has worked closely with Operation HOPE for several years, including a $1 million commitment over four years made in 2015.
“It’s a very significant relationship,” Bryant said. “Brad Hanson is one of my heroes. We have a philanthropic and a business partnership with them. We help their customers with financial resiliency, and we also serve as a backup call center if ever their system goes down or they have an overload of calls.”
The partnership makes sense for Meta, Hanson said, as it supports the company’s mission of serving the underbanked and unbanked customers in the marketplace.
“In most cities, banks are shutting down branches and trying to consolidate retail space, and Operation HOPE went around and put financial well-being coaches inside empty banks to work with people to improve their credit scores and their financial objectives, and hopefully the bank can obtain new customers through that,” he explained.
“Because of the uniqueness of our portfolio, we have millions of customers nationwide but few branches, so we pioneered with them a virtual concept through our website and our partners’ websites where we can refer people who are struggling financially to a HOPE coach.”
Operation HOPE doesn’t have a physical presence in South Dakota yet, but Bryant isn’t ruling it out.
“My mission is to come deliver the memo … to anybody in that audience who either is or knows someone living paycheck to paycheck.”
His nonprofit is raising credit scores 120 points in two years. Hear his secret to helping people achieve financial success next week in Sioux Falls.
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