"This first ever national network of 1,000 HOPE Inside locations, will become the 'Starbucks of financial inclusion,' and the private banker for the working person, by year 2020."
Fact: There are approximately 100,000 bank branches in America today, but most of them are actually under utilized.
Some will close, others will become something else in time, and still others will move up market, serving a more technology-centered and technology-friendly customer. Frankly, people like myself might even choose to ‘bank’ mostly from our mobile phone, in time. Everything is changing, but some of these societal changes will require an answer which is both a combination of high tech and high-touch.
I am concerned with the 100 million Americans who make just about $50,000 a year, or half of America. People like my late father, who was a working class, very small business owner who ‘had issues’ that he needed to explain – to someone.
My father’s needs were not going to be served by an ATM alone, and he was not going to apply for a mortgage loan via a computer. He barely trusted the people he actually knew.
My dad 'needed to talk to someone.’ He needed a relationship (banker). Frankly, what he needed was simply the way community banking use to be.
The average American deserves a private banker of their own, and I plan on changing all of this by placing 1,000+ of our HOPE Inside locations.
HOPE Inside of bank branches, credit unions, grocery stores, big box retailers, payment locations, government offices, and even houses of faith in under-served communities. Our flagship office now sits on the hallow ground of the King Center campus in Atlanta, where we operate the HOPE Inside @ Ebenezer, in honor of Dr. King's father, Martin Luther King, Sr. — who was both a pastor, and served on the board of a bank for 40 years! Yes, the board of a BANK!
Daddy King made sure he taught those in the church pews a little about what happens behind the banker's counter also. In so doing, he changed their lives forever, and not just by giving birth to the great Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.
My mission today is nothing short of revolutionary in theory.
We will become the first ever national nonprofit ‘private banker to the working poor and struggling middle class in this country.’
We will finish what President Abraham Lincoln first dreamed up in 1865, and what Dr. King tried to advance before his death in 1968.
There are more check cashers in America than there are Starbucks, and the predatory financial services sector represents a more than $500 Billion annual industry. That's half a trillion dollars.
John Hope Bryant is the Founder, Chairman and CEO of Operation HOPE and Bryant Group Companies, Inc. Magazine/CEO READ bestselling business author of LOVE LEADERSHIP: The New Way to Lead in a Fear-Based World (Jossey-Bass). His newest bestselling book is How The Poor Can Save Capitalism (Berrett Koehler Publishing).
Bryant is a Member of the U.S. President's Advisory Council on Financial Capability for Young Americans, co-founder of the Gallup-HOPE Index,and co-chair for Project 5117, which is a plan for the rebirth of underserved America.
Bryant is the only bestselling author on economics in the world who is also of African-American descent.
Photo Credit: Evan Simko-Bednarski