SOURCE: Operation HOPE, Inc.

March 24, 2008 16:30 ET

New York City's Department of Consumer Affairs Names HOPE Founder John Hope Bryant to Newly Established City of New York Office of Financial Empowerment Advisory Council

Top Experts From Private, Public and Nonprofit Sectors to Guide Financial Empowerment Efforts in New York City

LOS ANGELES, CA--(Marketwire - March 24, 2008) - Operation HOPE (HOPE) is proud to announce that Founder, Chairman and CEO John Hope Bryant was among 29 outstanding national and New York leaders recently named to the newly created Advisory Board for the City of New York, Department of Consumer Affairs' (DCA) Office of Financial Empowerment (OFE).

The city's Office of Financial Empowerment is the first local government initiative in the nation aimed expressly at educating, empowering, and protecting those with low incomes so they can build assets and make the most of their financial resources. OFE, the first program to be implemented under the Center for Economic Opportunity, is part of Mayor Michael Bloomberg's aggressive efforts to fight poverty in New York City. DCA Commissioner Jonathan Mintz created the Advisory Council to help shape OFE's agenda as it continues its work to increase financial literacy and asset building opportunities for New Yorkers with low incomes.

Recently appointed vice-chairman of the U.S. President's Advisory Council on Financial Literacy, Bryant's involvement will serve as an important contribution, particularly as it relates to issues surrounding national financial literacy policy, best practices, and how that directly impacts local economic empowerment. "I am proud to serve the residents of New York City and will work to see that every community has an equal opportunity to nurture economic development from within," said Bryant. "Operation HOPE currently operates one of our signature banking center networks in Harlem, so we understand the importance of the advisory council's work and applaud the leadership of Mayor Bloomberg and Commissioner Mintz."

The OFE Advisory Council met for the first time in New York City Hall on Tuesday, March 4, 2008, and will continue to meet periodically throughout the year. Terms for all members are two years.

"We are honored to have so many top experts in the field, locally and around the country, collaborating with us to help steer the important work of the Office of Financial Empowerment," said DCA Commissioner Jonathan Mintz. "Part of the exciting experiment of embedding OFE and its unique mission into a government agency is our ability to forge and leverage strategic partnerships. With the Advisory Council's guidance and wealth of knowledge and resources, we look forward to creating more unique opportunities to increase financial literacy and access to safe financial products for New Yorkers with low incomes."

About The New York City Department of Consumer Affairs

DCA enforces Consumer Protection laws and other related business laws throughout New York City. Ensuring a fair and vibrant marketplace, DCA licenses more than 60,000 businesses in 55 different categories. Through targeted outreach, partnerships with community and trade organizations, and informational materials, DCA educates residents about their rights, obligations and responsibilities.

Through DCA's Office of Financial Empowerment, New York becomes the first municipality in the nation to empower and protect low income city residents, helping them make the best use of their financial resources so they can move forward economically. For more information, call 311 or visit DCA online at www.nyc.gov/consumers.

About Operation HOPE

Operation HOPE (HOPE) is a leading global nonprofit social investment banking and financial literacy empowerment organization. Through various initiatives and its three principal programs: Banking on Our Future (teaching youth about financial empowerment), HOPE Coalition America (financial emergency preparedness and recovery), and the HOPE Center Banking Network (loans, bill pay, computer literacy, understanding banking principles), HOPE is at the forefront of a "silver rights" movement, making free enterprise and capitalism relevant to all underserved communities.

The Harlem HOPE Center is supported by E TRADE FINANCIAL and JP Morgan Chase amongst others, and is located at 2511 Frederick Douglass Boulevard in Harlem, New York. For more information on the Harlem HOPE Center and the global work of Operation HOPE access www.operationhope.org.

US. Presidents Advisory Council on Financial Literacy

The President's Advisory Council on Financial Literacy (the Council) was created on January 22, 2008 by President George W. Bush. The Council's purpose is to help keep America competitive and assist the American people in understanding and addressing financial matters. For more information on USPACFL, go to http://www.treasury.gov/offices/domestic-finance/financial-institution/fin-education/council/index.shtml.

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