Operation HOPE, Inc. (HOPE) is the leading global provider of financial empowerment programs for low and moderate-income individuals and families. The organization’s mission is to disrupt poverty and empower inclusion by providing financial literacy, access to capital, and equity of opportunity for the underserved. Founded in 1992, HOPE has improved the economic quality of life for more than 2.8 million individuals through programs that create stakeholders: converting check cashing customers into banking customers, renters into homeowners, small business dreamers into small business owners, minimum wage workers into living wage workers, and uncertain disaster victims into financially empowered disaster survivors.
In 2016, First National Bank partnered with HOPE to bring its community uplift programming model, HOPE Inside, to Omaha, Nebraska. HOPE Inside is an in-branch program that provides credit and money management, small business development, and homeownership counseling to adults in the Greater Omaha metropolitan area so that they can ultimately achieve financial wellness and inclusion. This program was the first of its kind in the Omaha area and since its inception has helped more than 390 individuals move toward financial wellness. Of these individuals, 235 participated in credit and money management educational workshops and 146 enrolled in one-on-one credit coaching.
All of these in-branch services are provided at no cost to the client by onsite Operation HOPE Financial Wellbeing Coach, Tracey Rucker. Tracey leads individual and group sessions out of the First National Bank branch located at 50th and Ames in Omaha and shares that it is both an eye-opening and rewarding job. “It is exciting to see people change their lives just by educating them with basic financial tools,” said Tracey “Operation HOPE helps remove the barriers that have prevented someone from fully realizing their dreams. No matter what that dream is, we can help them take that first step.”
HOPE Inside clients realize life-changing impacts when they participate in the program. Sarah and Mark (actual names have been changed to protect their privacy), who participated in credit and money management programs, realized their dream of home ownership through their participation in the program. “The lending industry is a tricky place which can be very confusing for the amateur homebuyer,” said Sarah. “My husband and I rely on Tracey’s expertise to guide us in the right direction. Recently, we decided we were ready to purchase a home and knew we could go to Tracey for advice. She educated us on how to improve our credit score to receive optimal financing which included reducing debt and resolving damaging issues from our credit histories.” Mark shared “Tracey always displays a positive and professional attitude and her years of experience cannot be ignored. Without Tracey, we would surely be lost.”
The HOPE Inside program is not limited to First National Bank customers at the 50th and Ames branch. Anyone in the Greater Omaha area that can benefit from the program may contact Tracey for assistance at (402) 359-3946.
To learn more about HOPE and their financial empowerment programs, visit operationhope.org.