SOURCE: Operation HOPE, Inc.

June 04, 2007 10:10 ET

Union Bank $150,000 Commitment to Operation Hope Will Fund "Silver Rights" Initiatives

Pledge Supports HOPE Center Operations and Banking on Our Future, Youth Financial Literacy Programs Throughout California

LOS ANGELES, CA--(Marketwire - June 4, 2007) - Operation HOPE (HOPE) announced today that Union Bank of California reaffirmed its commitment to support HOPE's Silver Rights Movement to eradicate poverty as we know it and empower underserved communities throughout California. A $150,000 grant from the Union Bank of California Foundation will be used to offer free credit counseling and financial education programs through HOPE's Banking on Our Future Program that has already educated over 225,000 youth nationwide on financial literacy. The bank was also a sponsor of HOPE's 15th Anniversary Celebration and the biggest Bankers Bus Tour in the organization's history.

“We commend the Union Bank Foundation for its commitment to empowering people with the knowledge to make the right decisions about their finances. The Alliance Partnership, with Union Bank of California, Nix Check Cashing and Operation HOPE, was and is about the power of conversion; of converting check cashing into banking customers. In one powerful year of this partnership the Alliance was responsible for 10% of all new accounts at the bank. This proves that you can do well and do good too. To run a business that helps, and empowers people to help themselves. This is why I truly respect the people who run Union Bank of California,” said Operation HOPE Founder, Chairman and CEO, John Hope Bryant.

The support of institutions like Union Bank helps Operation HOPE to deliver ‘silver rights’ to underserved communities. Bryant continued, “Union Bank of California and Operation HOPE have been partners for more than a decade, and together we have made a difference in the low-wealth communities we serve, from South Los Angeles, to Long Beach, to Watts/Willowbrook, to South Gate.”

"Union Bank's commitment to the not-for-profit community extends beyond offering comprehensive financial solutions to individuals and businesses. We support projects like Banking on Our Future because they are vitally important to the economic health and viability of the communities we serve," said Union Bank of California Foundation President, Carl Ballton.

In 1993 when Union Bank decided to expand services to low income communities, it soon found that while their branches provided a valuable service to the unbanked, a vehicle to transition the unbanked to traditional banking relationships was missing. This opened the door to a new kind of relationship and Operation HOPE's first partnership with the bank. The alliance, formed in 2000, included Union Bank, Nix Check Cashing, and Operation HOPE, was forged to provide financial literacy, credit counseling and an array of banking products and services to serve the underserved.

In addition to financial support, Union Bank supports local communities by donating hundreds of hours to community reinvestment projects. Operation HOPE's volunteer arm, HOPE Corps, works with Union Bank employees who volunteer to teach Banking on our Future financial education classes. They also sign up as HOPE Coalition Volunteers and stand-by to assist in the event of a disaster.

Since 1992, HOPE has worked to bring self-sufficiency and a sustained spirit of revitalization to inner-city communities through ongoing collaborations and long-term partnerships with leading government, private sector, and community interests. At the core of HOPE's mission to eradicate poverty and empower the wealthless is a movement to establish "Silver Rights" or the right to financial literacy, access to capital, and equality of opportunity for the underserved.

In California alone, the award-winning Banking on Our Future program has educated over 110,000 youth in financial literacy. Through HOPE Centers Operation HOPE has created more than 800 new home and small business owners. Combined efforts for the organization have generated more than $400 million in loan commitments from some 400 bank and affiliate partners. Most recently, HOPE succeeded in encouraging President Bush to become the first U.S. President to take action on financial literacy as "a new priority in American life."

About Union Bank of California Foundation

Established in 1953, the Union Bank of California Foundation serves as an agent for charitable contributions made by Union Bank of California, N.A., a wholly owned subsidiary of UnionBanCal Corporation, a publicly traded San Francisco-based bank holding company. The foundation contributes financial assistance to nonprofit institutions and organizations that enhance the quality of life and help meet the needs of the communities it serves.

About Union Bank of California

Based in San Francisco, UnionBanCal Corporation (NYSE: UB) is a bank holding company with assets of $54.6 billion at March 31, 2007. Its primary subsidiary, Union Bank of California, N.A., had 321 banking offices in California, Oregon and Washington, and 2 international offices at March 31, 2007. The company's Web site is located at

About Operation HOPE, Inc.

Operation HOPE, Inc. (HOPE) is America's first nonprofit social investment bank and an international provider of financial literacy and economic empowerment programs, founded as a result of the 1992 Los Angeles civil unrest to empower minorities in underserved communities. HOPE and its programs can be found online at

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