ATLANTA--(BUSINESS WIRE)--Operation HOPE, Inc., the nation’s largest non-profit dedicated to financial empowerment for underserved communities, today announced that it has launched the HOPE Community Credit Score Index, a first-of-its-kind tool that measures average credit scores neighborhood-by-neighborhood across the U.S. Revealed for the first time today on CNBC’s Squawk Box by Operation HOPE Chairman, Founder and CEO John Hope Bryant, the HOPE Community Credit Score Index works by overlaying resident credit scores with other critical data on education, homeownership, income, life expectancy, and crime to identify the neighborhoods most in need and use these data to help inform policy, program and service offerings, and provide residents a greater understanding of their specific community’s financial health.
Operation HOPE is using this data to help fix community financial problems corner-by-corner. In partnership with some of the largest financial institutions and municipalities large and small, Operation HOPE – through its 200 HOPE Inside locations across the country – provides credit counseling and financial education that raise credit scores, which impact residents’ ability to borrow money, the likelihood they can be resilient during difficult times, and their ability to achieve financial goals like purchasing a home or starting a business.
“Our nation’s problems are largely economic and how we measure them is critical. The HOPE Community Credit Score Index provides the most granular measurement of a community’s financial wellbeing available anywhere,” said Mr. Bryant. “The HOPE Community Credit Score Index shows in plain sight how the economic disparity between a 500-average credit score neighborhood and a nearby 750-average credit score neighborhood impacts a community. Improving credit scores is a tangible, measurable first step in bridging the gap of who gets access to capital and financial security. Among all the low credit score communities across the country that our 200 HOPE Inside locations serve – whether they are urban or rural, black or white – we see the same thing: check cashers, liquor stores and payday lenders on every corner. Our mission at Operation HOPE is to replace them with quality retail, banks and locally-owned small businesses that contribute to the wellbeing of the community. The HOPE Community Credit Score Index gives us a tool to help affect that change.”
Just last year, Operation HOPE raised participants' credit scores by an average of 40+ points, moving its clients toward the target of a 700-credit score that transforms individuals’ ability to fully participate in the free enterprise system. Operation HOPE also helped clients reduce debt by an average of $2,600 per client, increase savings by an average of $300 per client in one year, and obtain more than $278 million in funded mortgages. The HOPE Community Credit Score Index will show how Operation HOPE’s work to increase credit scores and savings and reduce debt on the community level has improved overall community financial health and stability.
The HOPE Community Credit Score Index utilizes credit score data from The Financial Wellness Index dashboard and mapping tool, which was created in partnership with Experian and Operation HOPE in 2021. The Financial Wellness Index is a key asset in identifying communities in most need of financial education as well as developing programming that will give people from those communities the tools they need to build the future they want.
About Operation HOPE, Inc.
Since 1992, Operation HOPE has been moving America from civil rights to “silver rights” with the mission of making free enterprise and capitalism work for everyone—disrupting poverty for millions of low and moderate-income youth and adults across the nation. Through its community uplift model, HOPE Inside, which received the 2016 Innovator of the Year recognition by American Banker magazine, Operation HOPE has served more than 4 million individuals and directed more than $3.2 billion in economic activity into disenfranchised communities—turning check-cashing customers into banking customers, renters into homeowners, small business dreamers into small business owners, minimum wage workers into living wage consumers, and uncertain disaster victims into financially empowered disaster survivors. Operation HOPE recently received its eighth consecutive 4-star charity rating for fiscal management and commitment to transparency and accountability by the prestigious non-profit evaluator, Charity Navigator. For more information: OperationHOPE.org. Join the conversation on social media at @operationHOPE.