American Banker magazine recently revealed that John Hope Bryant, Operation Hope’s founder, chairman, and CEO, and a co-developer of Freedman’s Bank Forum, is recognized as the magazine’s 2016 “Innovator of the Year.”
The award was given to Bryant who, with Operation Hope, has found a way to combat financial illiteracy and help those in underserved communities build credit, avoid foreclosure, and start small businesses.
Operation Hope, along with Hope Inside, directly partners with banks to install Operation Hope-trained financial counselors inside bank branches, and offers free financial advice to bank clients—namely those with credit or debt issues that may hinder them from receiving loans and other financial assistance.
Hope Inside offers a solution to a wide range of challenges that banks face, following the financial crisis. “I think this is the first time that many of these CEOs saw community affairs, public affairs, community reinvestment, community engagement, trust—the business [banks are] in—relationship-building, race relations, economic prosperity, job creation, and even business development all line up,” Bryant says, regarding the significance of Hope Inside. “And it’s moral, which means that they can feel good about it, brag about it[…]and they can rationalize it to their bean counters and to their boards of directors—at scale.”
Much of the credit for the success of Operation Hope and Hope Inside is accredited to Hope’s lively, passionate, and authentic energy. “I just came in here to say thank you for your time. I know it’s hot in here, but that’s because of all your passion within,” Bryant recently stated to a group of 25 graduates of Operation Hope, many which have started their own businesses. “I don’t even know you, but I love you.”
Bryant is also a contributor to Black Enterprise magazine.
For more information about Bryant’s recent accomplishment, visit AmericanBanker.com.