Funds will go towards nonprofit's empowerment programs to help underserved communities achieve financial parity and save homes from foreclosure

ATLANTA and CHICAGO, Sept. 17, 2012 /PRNewswire/ – Chicago-based BMO Harris Bank and Operation HOPE (HOPE) announced today that BMO Harris Bank is committing 250K in capital and providing volunteers to the financial dignity nonprofit, in support of financial literacy programs for youth and adults, including the HOPE Global Financial Dignity Summit and a toll-free mortgage crisis hotline that helps families faced with foreclosure.

"There is no question of the pressing need to provide support to initiatives that support financial literacy especially as so many people are struggling to stay in their homes," said Mark Furlong, President and CEO, BMO Harris Bank.  "By partnering with Operation HOPE, we are able to build upon each other's efforts across the country as the need for financial education has no geographic boundaries."

Following its tradition of building and strengthening communities, BMO Harris Bank allocated support for financial empowerment programs that are offered in Washington, Illinois, Indiana, Georgia, Florida,Kansas, Missouri, earmarking for: the HOPE Mortgage Crisis Hotline, 700 Credit Score Communities, Banking on Our Future, the HOPE Office of Innovation, Research, and Assessment, and the HOPE Financial Dignity Center at Ebenezer in Atlanta. Additionally, BMO Harris Bank signed on as a sponsor for the HOPE Global Financial Dignity Summit in November.

"We are honored to have BMO Harris Bank's continued support. Their ongoing dedication to financial dignity will help us reach, teach, touch and empower hundreds of individuals through our programs and from the newly constructed HOPE Financial Dignity Center at Ebenezer, that will open its doors this fall," said Jay Bailey Atlanta Market CEO. "We believe their support is key to raising credit scores, saving the American dream of homeownership for families, and bringing HOPE to under-resourced communities."

In 2002, BMO Harris Bank began its relationship with HOPE, becoming a founding sponsor of one of the most productive youth financial literacy markets for the "silver rights" empowerment leader, Banking on Our Future, Chicago.

This year HOPE celebrates its 20th anniversary of moving financial literacy and economic empowerment forward. The organization has raised more than $1.4 billion of investment capital for underserved communities and providing services to over 2 million individuals in the last two decades.                                                              

About BMO Harris Bank
Based in Chicago, BMO Harris Bank N.A. provides a broad range of personal banking products and solutions through over 650 branches and approximately 1,350 ATMs in Illinois, Wisconsin, Indiana,Kansas, Missouri, Minnesota, Nevada, Arizona and Florida. BMO Harris Bank's commercial banking team provides a combination of sector expertise, local knowledge and mid-market focus throughout the U.S. Deposit and loan products and services provided by BMO Harris Bank N.A. Member FDIC. BMO Harris BankSM and M&I® are trade names used by BMO Harris Bank N.A. BMO Harris Bank is part of BMO Financial Group, a North American financial organization with 1,600 branches, and a retail deposit base of approximately $180 billion.

About Operation HOPE (HOPE)
Since 1992, nonprofit Operation HOPE has grown to become the global leader in financial dignity, providing financial literacy and empowerment services to underserved communities worldwide.  Through its four principle portfolios: Banking on Our Future, HOPE Coalition America, HOPE Financial Dignity & Literacy Empowerment Centers, and HOPE Corps, the organization addresses youth and adult financial literacy, economic preparedness, bridges the digital divide and promotes home ownership, assists with credit management and foreclosure prevention. With the support of more than 400 private sector companies, 5000 nonprofit organizations and schools and government partners, HOPE has reached over 2 million low-wealth individuals in 273 U.S. cities and South Africa. At the core of HOPE's mission is a Silver Rights Movement, ensuring that free enterprise and capitalism work to provide a better future for underserved communities around the world. To learn more about HOPE, visit our blog or follow us on Facebook and Twitter.

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