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Operation HOPE comes to town

Hank Hayes • Apr 23, 2018 at 8:30 AM

KINGSPORT – First Tennessee Bank is partnering with the global financial dignity nonprofit Operation HOPE to offer free financial literacy workshops and one-on-one financial counseling at a HOPE Inside office now open at the bank’s main office in downtown Kingsport.

What will the program offer?

Participants, more or less, will in effect get their own personal banker.

The HOPE Inside workshops at First Tennessee will offer information about consumer rights, family budgeting, improving credit scores, paying off debt and saving money. One-on-one follow-up counseling sessions are available to workshop attendees. All services are offered to the public free of charge.

“There’s not a stronger message you could have than hope inside,” First Tennessee Northeast Tennessee Market President Gerald Hallenbeck said at the program’s grand opening attended by a number of Kingsport area nonprofits.

HOPE Inside Counselor Alan Pickle said the three things the program wants to accomplish is get people to a 700 credit score, help clients reduce debt and create savings.

“The magic words you hear someone say is ‘I need a little help with my finances,’” Pickle told the nonprofit executives in the room.

What other services does Operation HOPE offer?

In addition to the HOPE Inside program at First Tennessee, HOPE financial counselors can also provide workshops through community groups and employers.

HOPE Inside is part of Operation HOPE’s national initiative, Project 5117, to empower underserved communities. Project 5117 is supported by a national alliance of partner organizations including the U.S. Consumer Financial Protection Bureau. Through P5117, Operation HOPE seeks to make a measurable difference in youth and adult financial empowerment nationwide.

“You’re giving folks a hand up, not a handout … a chance at a better life” Kingsport Vice Mayor Mike McIntire pointed out.

David Reynolds, First Tennessee’s Kingsport community president, said the program will get people thinking more than just banks being about loans and deposits.

“The culture at First Tennessee is serving our community and that’s exactly what we’re doing here … serving a community that may not be bankable today but giving them guidance on being more a part of the economic community,” Reynolds noted.

The first major workshop will be September 9.

For more information call 423/367-5768 or send an email to: alan.pickle@operationhope.org.

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