ST. LOUIS, Mo. – Regions Bank and the nonprofit Operation HOPE on Tuesday announced the opening of two more HOPE Inside financial empowerment offices that will provide free credit and money management counseling to people, families and business owners in St. Louis, the Metro East and surrounding areas.

One of the new HOPE Inside locations will be in Regions’ Kingshighway branch at 4706 S. Kingshighway Boulevard in St. Louis. The other will be in Regions’ West Main branch at 4800 W. Main Street in Belleville, Ill. Counseling in these locations is scheduled to begin this spring.

These branches will join Regions’ existing St. Louis-area HOPE Inside location, which is based in one of the bank’s Florissant branches at 11920 New Halls Ferry Road.

“Since opening our first local HOPE Inside office in 2015, we have seen incredible success stories from people who were able to take charge of their finances, improve their credit scores and reach their financial goals. They did this thanks to free, one-on-one advice that HOPE Inside offers to anyone who wants it,” said Mike Hart, Midwest Area President for Regions Bank. “Our goal in adding more HOPE Inside locations is simple. We want to expand this free service and make it more convenient for more people on both sides of the river. The result will be more lives changed, more financial goals reached, and more people empowered to achieve success.”

Regions Midwest Area President Mike Hart, left, and Operation HOPE Chairman John Hope Bryant announce a HOPE Inside location in Paducah, Ky., on Oct. 24, 2017.

In addition to the new branches that will house HOPE Inside services, financial well-being coaches will schedule appointments to meet with clients at various other St. Louis and Metro East Regions branches.

“Helping people achieve financial empowerment – and financial dignity – is personal for me, especially in St. Louis,” said Operation HOPE Founder, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer John Hope Bryant. “My mother and her family grew up in East St. Louis, and many of my relatives still live there. I have seen first-hand how people need access to opportunities and financial education. And I have experienced first-hand the fact that when people are given the tools they need to succeed, they can change not only their lives for the better – but also the lives of their families, their neighbors and others throughout the community. The product of HOPE Inside is transformed lives and uplifted communities, and we appreciate partners like Regions stepping up and providing the resources we need to reach more people.”

HOPE Inside counseling is based literally inside bank branches and other community locations that have partnerships with Operation HOPE. Through the partnership between Regions and Operation HOPE, Regions provides workspace facilities and operational support to allow counseling to be delivered to people at no cost to them.

At each location, a certified financial well-being coach from Operation HOPE meets with clients and delivers customized education based on each client’s needs and goals. In addition to helping people improve personal finances, HOPE Inside counselors work with current or prospective small-business owners to help them turn their vision for a local business into reality.

People interested in HOPE Inside counseling do not have to be Regions customers to access services. The program is also available to people who have no bank account at all.

“We are here to welcome anyone who is interested in making financial progress,” said Bonita Williams, Operation HOPE’s financial well-being coach in Florissant. “HOPE Inside helps people learn how to make sound financial decisions and create a roadmap toward achieving their dreams. The most rewarding aspect of my job is working with people here at the branch and at community workshops and watching them achieve what’s possible through financial education.”

The additional HOPE Inside offices are part of a newly expanded partnership between Regions and Operation HOPE. The bank plans to support a total of 100 HOPE Inside offices throughout the Midwest, Southeast and Texas over the next few years.

People interested in local HOPE Inside counseling can contact Williams at 314-737-6086 or at Bonita.Williams@operationhope.org. Additional coaches will be announced at https://www.operationhope.org/histlouis as the new locations begin seeing clients this spring.

The HOPE Inside model received the 2016 Innovator of the Year recognition by American Banker magazine. Nationwide, there are now over 100 existing locations and commitments for more than 500 new offices within the next 24 months. According to Operation HOPE, each office holds consumer credit counseling certification, CFPB, FDIC, U.S. SBA, EITC, HUD, and FEMA applications and partnerships, and through HOPE Inside, Operation HOPE is the only organization certified by the Federal Financial Institutions Examination Council to operate within a bank.

About Regions Financial Corporation
Regions Financial Corporation (NYSE:RF), with $123 billion in assets, is a member of the S&P 500 Index and is one of the nation’s largest full-service providers of consumer and commercial banking, wealth management, mortgage, and insurance products and services. Regions serves customers across the South, Midwest and Texas, and through its subsidiary, Regions Bank, operates approximately 1,500 banking offices and 1,900 ATMs. Additional information about Regions and its full line of products and services can be found at www.regions.com.

About Operation HOPE
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 the underserved—disrupting poverty for millions of low- and moderate-income families across the nation. Through our community uplift model, HOPE Inside, which received the 2016 Innovator of the Year recognition by American Banker magazine, Operation HOPE has served more than 2.8 million individuals and directed more than $2.7 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. Project 5117 is our multi-year four-pronged approach to combating economic inequality that aims to improve financial literacy, increase business role models and business internships for youth in underserved communities, and stabilize the American dream by boosting FICO scores. Operation HOPE recently received its third 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: www.OperationHOPE.org. Follow Operation HOPE on Twitter and Facebook @operationhope.