Oct06_049Visit to Support Reinvestment Opportunities in South Los Angeles

LOS ANGELES–(BUSINESS WIRE)–Director John M. Reich, U.S. Office of Thrift Supervision, and Robert Russell, his senior counselor, visited the Operation HOPE Center in South Los Angeles and joined Operation HOPEs Founder and CEO John Hope Bryant and other financial executives including Mark Ernst, chairman and CEO of H&R Block, for a bus tour of the low-wealth communities of Los Angeles, a meeting with key community leaders, and a roundtable discussion with senior representatives of local financial institutions to explore the impact of the Community Reinvestment Act (CRA). The meeting was held on October 13, and was focused around what Operation HOPE is calling CRA Plus. Participants dialogued about opportunities to revitalize business areas and create stakeholders, and silver rights (making capitalism and the free enterprise system relevant to the poor) as a part of HOPEs work to promote economic empowerment.

Since the 1992 riots, South Los Angeles has experienced significant revitalization and growth, mostly through private-sector investments along with innovative public-private partnerships designed to improve the community (this includes activities from HOPEs network of inner-city HOPE Centers, serving black and Latino communities, to the Los Angeles Urban League-Toyota Motor USA partnership for an automotive training center in South Los Angeles). This said, there is still so much more that needs to be done and the responsibility is ours to do it, said John Hope Bryant, Founder and CEO of Operation HOPE. We thank Director Reich for touring South Los Angeles with us. While then OTS Director Ellen Seidman was very supportive of our work, and in many ways helped to encourage the DC-Anacostia HOPE Center into existence, this marks the first time in more than a decade that HOPE has hosted an OTS director in South Los Angeles. We salute Director Reich for his leadership here. Bryant continued, We facilitate these tours because we have learned that `you dont lend where you have never been,’ and we want to continue to directly encourage redevelopment and opportunities to invest in, and to lend to these underserved communities. This is done to better ensure equitable growth, access to financial services, affordable housing and stable neighborhoods. This is what Silver Rights is all about. Director Reich also met with prominent community leaders including Robert Gnaizda, Esq., General Counsel and Policy Director of the Greenlining Institute, and Muhammad Nassardeen, founder and CEO of Recycling Black Dollars, amongst others, to speak about redevelopment opportunities in the area and to seek their feedback.

Representatives from several financial institutions including Citigroup, California National Bank, E*TRADE Financial, H&R Block, Washington Mutual Bank, Broadway Federal Bank, Cathay Bank, Fremont Investment and Loan, The First American Corporation, Wells Fargo, Chrisman & Company, Inc., Comerica Bank and the IndyMac Bank participated in the guided bus tour through South Central Los Angeles and round table discussion. HOPE periodically hosts Banker Bus Tours as a way to solicit new investors and financial institutions into low-wealth areas. A luncheon, which immediately followed, was sponsored by Chrisman & Company.

The Office of Thrift Supervision (OTS) is the primary federal regulator of federally-chartered and state-chartered savings associations, their subsidiaries, and their registered savings and loan holding companies. OTS was established as a bureau of the U.S. Department of the Treasury on August 9, 1989, and has four regional offices located in Jersey City, Atlanta, Dallas, and San Francisco. OTS is funded by assessments and fees levied on the industry it regulates. For more information about OTS visit its website at www.ots.treas.gov.

About Operation HOPE

Operation HOPE, Inc. is America’s first nonprofit social investment bank and a national provider of financial literacy and economic empowerment programs. It works to bring self-sufficiency and a sustained spirit of revitalization to America’s inner-city communities. The three key programs, which serve as the foundation for delivering HOPEs financial literacy programs, are HOPE Coalition America, Banking on Our Future, and neighborhood HOPE Centers. To date, HOPE has created more than 800 new homeowners and 250 small business owners, more than $125 million in funded loans, and nearly $280 million in commitments for homeownership and small business loans from their 250 bank and corporate partners. Operation HOPE has helped thousands of Katrina victims with emergency financial counseling as well as helped thousands more through a partnership with former President Clinton and the Clinton Foundation to claim EITC benefits Katrina victims rightly deserve from the federal government. At the core of HOPEs 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. HOPE and its programs can be found online at www.operationhope.org.

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