While Operation HOPE is experiencing unprecedented growth presently, and we were deeply honored to receive the American Banker '2016 Innovator of the Year' Award for our HOPE Inside model, the reality that we would not be here if not for the early and important commitment from SunTrust Banks and its Chairman & CEO Bill Rogers, who opened our first couple of locations -- based on my verbal commitments that we would 'do it right.' From that moment to this one, Bill Rogers and his senior team --- inclusive of Mark Chancy, Jerome Lienhard, II, Brad Dinsmore, Susan Johnson, David Fuller, Debbie Crowder and so many others that have been helpful within the company. This includes the former CEO Jim Wells. HOPE Inside is pioneering a new way within the banking sector, helping to move banks from almost being forced to be in the 'no business,' when they actually desire to be in the 'yes business.' But regulations, privacy laws and other legal concerns restrict what the bank can and cannot say to their own customers. It limits what the bank can do to assist its own customers, even when the bank wants to. The HOPE Inside model allows my team -- our growing army of trained and certified HOPE Financial Coaches -- to constructively engage with bank customers and prospective future customers alike, and to prepare them for a future when the bank can actually say 'yes' to their request to become a new owner in America. Today SunTrust Banks maintains a standing commitment to open 200 locations of HOPE Inside throughout their footprint through year 2020. This represents 10% of their entire bank branch network. Several other banks have decided to follow the SunTrust Banks lead, also committing to open 10% of their bank branch network to the innovative and results driven HOPE Inside model. SunTrust was also a founding investor in our flagship HOPE Inside location, Ebenezer at Ebenezer Baptist Church, the pastoral home of the late Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. We are helping the bank and the communities they serve by helping the bank's customers; by moving credit scores upwards of 120 points over 24 months. The testimonials continue to roll in from our successes on the ground with HOPE Inside within SunTrust Banks. The best is yet to come. Onward and with HOPE, John Hope Bryant, founder, Operation HOPE
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