SYS-CON MEDIA Authors: Carmen Gonzalez, Sean Houghton, Glenn Rossman, Ignacio M. Llorente, Xenia von Wedel

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Regions Bank and Protective Life Corporation Join to Support Operation HOPE's Mission to Promote Financial Dignity and Empowerment

BIRMINGHAM, Ala., Jan. 23, 2014 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- Operation HOPE Founder, Chairman and CEO John Hope Bryant was joined today by Regions Financial Corporation (NYSE:RF) CEO Grayson Hall and Protective Life Corporation CEO John D. Johns at the Regions Financial corporate headquarters to announce the first commitment for HOPE Inside locations for the state of Alabama. 

Supported by commitments from Regions Bank and Protective Life Insurance, the HOPE Inside offices will offer free adult financial education, individual financial counseling guidance and financial disaster recovery workshops to residents in the Birmingham area who seek to build personal wealth or protect assets from disasters. The first HOPE Inside location in Alabama will be housed in the Regions Bank Five Points South branch in downtown Birmingham.

"We are pleased that Regions Bank and Protective Life Corporation show such dedication to their community. Their commitment will help ensure that the residents of Birmingham will have an opportunity to receive Operation HOPE's qualified financial empowerment service," said Operation HOPE Founder, Chairman and CEO John Hope Bryant. "For more than 20 years, we have been advocating the importance of financial literacy as a tool to combat economic inequality. Through HOPE Inside we are making a measurable impact in communities across the country, like Birmingham."

The HOPE Inside offices will feature a dedicated certified counselor who will provide and coordinate credit, money management and homeownership counseling services. Services are provided free of charge and are available to the general public. The leaders gathered to introduce the new program that will provide financial education to the community.

"This is about helping people succeed financially to make our community stronger," said Regions Financial Corporation CEO Grayson Hall. "Financial education gives people the knowledge and information they need to make decisions that will benefit themselves and their families. Regions is honored to partner with Operation HOPE and Protective Life to provide this service that will help people set and achieve their financial goals."

Through the new HOPE Inside partnership, Operation HOPE will be able to provide customized, one-on-one financial education to more people from throughout the area.

"Operation HOPE is a global leader in helping individuals and families build financial capacity and achieve financial dignity through their strong financial literacy programs," said John D. Johns, CEO, Protective Life Corporation. "We are pleased to partner with Regions to bring the HOPE Inside program to Alabama and we are excited about the impact this program will have in our community."

HOPE Inside locations literally exist "inside" financial institutions, retail stores, supermarkets, local municipalities or community-based partners, cutting out much of the expensive overhead costs of running a Center. It is Operation HOPE's new, innovative and cost-efficient strategy to serve more people by bringing financial empowerment to locations with significant foot-traffic.  By partnering with such institutions, it allows the HOPE to attract and provide services for more unbanked or underbanked consumers.

"This joint partnership is just another path to financial success for our citizens, which will help forge the way for better opportunities financially for our citizens. We are proud that Birmingham is at the center of such a beneficial program to the community," said Mayor William Bell.

While this HOPE Inside location represents the first such partnership for the state of Alabama, Operation HOPE has had a presence in Birmingham since 2011 through its disaster financial recovery services division, HOPE Coalition America (HCA).  In support of 2011 tornado recovery efforts, HCA provided on-the-ground assistance to individuals and small business owners, eventually opening an office in Birmingham to continue these services.

Ultimately, the commitment seeks to establish a larger HOPE presence in the Birmingham metropolitan area that will provide additional services, including targeted adult financial literacy workshops and services, credit and money management, homeownership, foreclosure prevention and small business seminars, as well as HCA disaster recovery services to HOPE clients.

About Operation HOPE
Founded in 1992 and headquartered in Los Angeles, Operation HOPE promotes financial dignity through financial literacy and education tools to underserved communities. Through its four core portfolios, the organization has provided youth and adult financial literacy, economic preparedness, digital empowerment, promoted home ownership, and assisted with foreclosure prevention to more than 2 million individuals, families, and small business owners. HOPE's next phase will be focused on Project 5117, a multi-year initiative that will track and increase business role models for youth, boost credit scores for adults, and empower underserved communities. To learn how you can join Project 5117, go to www.operationhope.org/p5117mission or visit www.operationhope.org to learn more.

SOURCE Operation HOPE

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