John Hope Bryant, a champion of financial literacy, has often been successful in getting Washington luminaries to join him on his annual visits to District neighborhoods east of the Anacostia Rover. Last year, he was accompanied by Federal Reserve Chairman Ben S. Bernanke and by then-World Bank President Paul D. Wolfowitz. This year, Bryant, chief executive and founder of Operation Hope, a Los Angeles organization devoted to teaching financial skills to the urban poor, was joined by Sheila C. Bair, chairman of the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation. Together, they hosted a panel discussion Thursday afternoon on the importance of learning the language of money. About 30 people, including bankers, borrowers and local officials, were present for the discussion, held at the group's center on Good Hope Road in Southeast Washington.
Bryant touted his organization's educational programs, which include credit counseling services, money management classes and mortgage and business loan counseling. "It's not about making more money," he said. "It's about making the right decisions with it." Bryant introduced Bair as someone who is seriously committed to making banking services more widely available to poor communities. "I think it's wonderful what they do," Bair told the Post. "This is exactly the kind of initiative we need." -- Alejandro Lazo