JACKSONVILLE, Fla. –Regions Bank and Operation HOPE on Thursday announced the opening of a HOPE Inside financial empowerment center that will provide cost-free financial education as well as credit and money management counseling to underserved residents and small-business owners in the Jacksonville area.
“Financial education is a crucial part of helping a community prosper, and as this program helps more people take charge of their finances, improve their credit scores and reach their financial goals, imagine the impact we can have on families, neighborhoods and Jacksonville as a whole,” said Franklin Danley, Jacksonville City President for Regions Bank. “We have seen the success of Operation HOPE in other communities across the country, and we are honored to bring the program to Northeast Florida. The result of our partnership is free, focused, one-on-one financial counseling and empowerment for anyone who wants it.”
The HOPE Inside location is within Regions’ Jacksonville Main Office located at 51 West Bay Street. Regions is providing workspace facilities within the branch and other support for HOPE Inside, enabling a certified financial wellbeing coach from Operation HOPE to meet with clients during Regions’ regular business hours. Counseling is provided free of charge and is available to the general public.
As in other locations where Regions and Operation HOPE provide this service, the coach will work with clients to help them improve their credit scores, understand and use credit wisely, strengthen their overall financial management skills and become better prepared to achieve homeownership, avoid foreclosure or meet other financial goals. The free service is available regardless of whether the recipients are Regions customers. It is also available to people who have no bank account at all.
“This is about creating a thriving economy through financial empowerment – and financial dignity,” said Lance Triggs, President of Program Operations at Operation HOPE. “Look at what happens in Duval County and surrounding areas when we help people improve their credit scores by 100 points or more. Think about the difference we will see as more people have a greater sense of ownership in their neighborhoods. And think about the new investment and new jobs that come to communities when people succeed financially. This is the vision we share with Regions for Jacksonville.”
HOPE Inside offers financial-management guidance for small-business owners as well. Program participants can choose to complete an entrepreneurial-training program that emphasizes topics such as credit and money management, accounting, marketing, business plan development and more. This counseling is also provided free of charge.
HOPE Inside offices are literally “inside” financial institutions, retail stores, supermarkets and other community locations, allowing Operation HOPE to reach more people while cutting out the expensive overhead costs of running a financial education center. The HOPE Inside location at Regions represents the first HOPE Inside in Jacksonville.
Regions began partnering with HOPE in 2014 upon the establishment of a counseling center in Birmingham, Ala. The success of that center led to an expanded partnership and new counseling centers in St. Louis, Mo., and now here in Jacksonville.
Locally based counseling will be provided by Will Messer, a certified Operation HOPE financial wellbeing coach. Messer brings an extensive background in financial modeling with expertise in understanding and projecting cash flows. He is also a successful small-business owner who can identify with the needs of people working to build a successful company. Messer holds an MBA from the Wharton School at the University of Pennsylvania.
Members of the public interested in financial counseling or workshops can learn more at www.operationhope.org/hopeinside or can contact Messer at 904-860-9991 or at [email protected]
About Regions Financial Corporation
Regions Financial Corporation (NYSE:RF), with $126 billion in assets, is a member of the S&P 500 Index and is one of the nation’s largest full-service providers of consumer and commercial banking, wealth management, mortgage, and insurance products and services. Regions serves customers across the South, Midwest and Texas, and through its subsidiary, Regions Bank, operates approximately 1,500 banking offices and 1,900 ATMs. Additional information about Regions and its full line of products and services can be found at www.regions.com.
About Operation HOPE
Since 1992, Operation HOPE has been moving America from civil rights to “silver rights” with the mission of making free enterprise and capitalism work for the underserved. Through its core programs, the nonprofit has provided financial dignity and economic empowerment to over 2.6 million individuals worldwide, and $2 billion in economic activity for the disenfranchised—turning check cashing customers into banking customers, renters into homeowners, small business dreamers into small business owners and minimum wage workers into living wage consumers. Project 5117 is HOPE’s multi-year four-pronged approach to combating economic inequality that aims to improve financial literacy, increase business role models and business internships for youth, and stabilize the American dream by boosting credit scores. Operation HOPE recently received its second consecutive 4-star charity rating for fiscal management and commitment to transparency and accountability by the prestigious non-profit evaluator, Charity Navigator—further establishing it as a best-in-class organization. For more information: www.OperationHOPE.org. Follow Operation HOPE on Twitter: @OperationHOPE