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Nonprofits at work: Operation Hope aims to boost financial literacy | Gallery

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Operation Hope works to disrupt poverty and empower inclusion for low and moderate-income youth and adults.

With the focus on financial dignity and inclusion, the organization equips young people and adults with the financial tools and education to lay the foundation for a better future. Trained Operation Hope coaches guide participants through their personal aspirations and life’s challenges, and facilitates their journey to financial independence.

Joy Easterling, an Operation Hope financial-wellness coach, faced her own financial hurdles.

At one point in her life, as a single mom trying to get through college, she had no idea how a credit score could affect her future choices or the implications of credit card debt. As Easterling learned how to work with her own finances, she felt more confident and in control of her money and her life. Now she is passionate about helping others make better decisions about their money.

Easterling said she understands how guarded people are about their finances. She shares her story with them and says that when a person or a family begins to trust her, they can work together to create a road map toward financial independence.

There’s a big need for Operation Hope’s services in our community. About 57,000 Greensboro residents — including 1 of every 4 children — live in poverty, according the local chapter of the United Way. The federal government defines poverty as a family of four earning $24,600 per year. Many four-member households in our community need to earn around $60,000 to meet basic needs without subsidized assistance, according to local self-sufficiency standards.

Gin Reid Hall is the director at Partnership Village on Greenbriar Street in Greensboro, which provides transitional housing for formerly homeless people. Operation Hope’s financial coaching helps households qualify for conventional housing.

“Operation Hope is committed to working with residents to work through budget challenges, particularly related, but certainly not limited to, credit repair,” Hall said.

When Lanier Warner moved into Partnership Village in 2018, his credit score was low and creditors were trailing him.

“I had nowhere to go and had no idea what to do about my financial situation.” Warner said.

Larry King, a case manager at Partnership Village, suggested he make an appointment with Easterling from Operation Hope to create a plan of action.

Warner said he came to the first appointment with a pile of bills and statements. Together, Warner and Easterling created a step-by-step process to move toward financial wellness. Easterling showed him how to call creditors and negotiate a new payment plan, and he did this for many months.

As he saw his credit score go up, Warner became motivated to keep going. Just last month, Warner got his new credit score of 663 and said that without the help and accountability of his Operation Hope coach, this would have been almost impossible to do on his own.

Easterling starts the financial-wellness program by asking the client “to write down everything” so that the person has a clearer idea of what money is coming in and what is going out. She helps people look at their income and expenses with new eyes. Then she shows them how to create a realistic budget. She teaches them about automatic payments and other online banking tools.

“I share with them my mistakes and keep it real with them so they can feel comfortable with the process,” she said.

Operation Hope connects the legacy of the Freedman’s Bank, established by President Abraham Lincoln more than 150 years ago to integrate all Americans into our nation’s economic life, and the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr.’s advocacy for equity of opportunity for all.

Operation Hope’s Project 5117, a multiyear, four-pronged approach to combating economic inequality, aims to improve financial literacy, increase business role models and business internships for youth in underserved communities, and stabilize the American dream by boosting people’s credit scores.

Warner said he now has the potential to buy a small house, his dream for many years.

He recently paid off his car and can’t wait until that information “hits” and improves his credit score.

“I encourage anyone to call Operation Hope and get on the right track with their money,” Warner said. “I am blessed to be where I am today.”

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California’s vague new financial regulation law

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California Capitol. Photo by Anne Wernikoff for CalMatters

In summary

California has a new financial regulation law but its reach is vague and awaits more definition.

Assembly Bill 1864 didn’t get much media or public attention as it zipped through both houses of the Legislature on the last day of the 2020 session.

Superficially, it appeared merely to reconfigure the state’s financial regulatory agencies into a new entity called the Department of Financial Protection and Innovation.

However, those in California’s vast financial industry were paying lots of attention because the bill creates an entirely new regulatory regime with broad powers, including fines of up to $1 million a day, to police financial players that hitherto have had little oversight.

The official rationale for the legislation is that President Donald Trump’s administration neutered the federal Dodd-Frank Wall Street Consumer Financial Protection Act of 2010, so the state must step in with an equivalent to guard against predatory financial practices that harm consumers.

The new California Consumer Financial Protection Law gives the reconstituted agency authority to go after “abusive practices” whose definition in the law is fairly vague. Thus, the agency itself will define the term as it also decides which businesses will face its scrutiny.

It appears that the new law will affect firms involved in debt settlement, credit repair, check cashing, rent-to-own contracts, payday lending, student loan servicing and financing for retail sales. However, its primary target seems to be financial services offered by non-banks, particularly what are called “fintech companies” that offer bank-like services via the Internet without maintaining physical offices.

Fintechs, many of them based in the San Francisco Bay Area, have blossomed in recent years as part of the digital economy, competing with traditional brick-and-mortar banks. Their disruptive nature is not unlike the challenge that technology-based ride services such as Uber and Lyft pose to taxicabs and buses.

Late-blooming changes in AB 1864 exempted traditional financial firms that are already regulated, such as banks and credit unions, from the new consumer protection law, leading some analysts to conclude that its unstated aim is to help them stave off competition from new kids on the financial block.

The vagueness of the new law was encapsulated in what Gov. Gavin Newsom said during a signing ceremony. The new law and the new department, he said, will “create conditions for innovation to flourish in a way where we can steward that and we can just work against its excesses. So we support risk-taking, not recklessness.”

Newsom also signed two other financial protection measures, one that requires debt collectors to be licensed beginning in 2022 and the other creating a Student Loan Borrower Bill of Rights.

Although the new state law is said to mirror the Dodd-Frank law, it contains at least one significant difference. When federal regulators levy fines for what they consider to be bad conduct, the money goes into the federal treasury. When state regulators impose their fines of up to $1 million a day, the money will be retained by the new agency to finance more activity.

Will that give the new agency a financial incentive to skip over minor consumer issues and go after big companies? It’s a question that only time will answer.

Significantly too, the new investigative and regulatory mechanism contained in AB 1864 specifically does not usurp the authority of the attorney general to also target companies under the state’s equally vague “unfair competition” law.

From its inception a decade ago, Dodd-Frank has attracted criticism from business executives for regulatory overkill. Will California’s new version be less controversial? We won’t know until the new agency puts some definitional meat on its bones.



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California’s vague new financial regulation law – Whittier Daily News

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Assembly Bill 1864 didn’t get much media or public attention as it zipped through both houses of the Legislature on the last day of the 2020 session.

Superficially, it appeared merely to reconfigure the state’s financial regulatory agencies into a new entity called the Department of Financial Protection and Innovation.

However, those in California’s vast financial industry were paying lots of attention because the bill creates an entirely new regulatory regime with broad powers, including fines of up to $1 million a day, to police financial players that hitherto have had little oversight.

The official rationale for the legislation is that President Donald Trump’s administration neutered the federal Dodd-Frank Wall Street Consumer Financial Protection Act of 2010, so the state must step in with an equivalent to guard against predatory financial practices that harm consumers.

The new California Consumer Financial Protection Law gives the reconstituted agency authority to go after “abusive practices” whose definition in the law is fairly vague. Thus, the agency itself will define the term as it also decides which businesses will face its scrutiny.

It appears that the new law will affect firms involved in debt settlement, credit repair, check cashing, rent-to-own contracts, payday lending, student loan servicing and financing for retail sales. However, its primary target seems to be financial services offered by non-banks, particularly what are called “fintech companies” that offer bank-like services via the Internet without maintaining physical offices.

Fintechs, many of them based in the San Francisco Bay Area, have blossomed in recent years as part of the digital economy, competing with traditional brick-and-mortar banks. Their disruptive nature is not unlike the challenge that technology-based ride services such as Uber and Lyft pose to taxicabs and buses.

Late-blooming changes in AB 1864 exempted traditional financial firms that are already regulated, such as banks and credit unions, from the new consumer protection law, leading some analysts to conclude that its unstated aim is to help them stave off competition from new kids on the financial block.

The vagueness of the new law was encapsulated in what Gov. Gavin Newsom said during a signing ceremony. The new law and the new department, he said, will “create conditions for innovation to flourish in a way where we can steward that and we can just work against its excesses. So we support risk-taking, not recklessness.”

Newsom also signed two other financial protection measures, one that requires debt collectors to be licensed beginning in 2022 and the other creating a Student Loan Borrower Bill of Rights.

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397 people register to vote on deadline day at Duval Supervisor of Elections – 104.5 WOKV

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JACKSONVILLE, Fla. — Monday, Oct. 5 at midnight, is the deadline to register to vote in Duval County.

But the Supervisor of Elections helped hundreds of people get registered today.

Robert Phillips, the chief elections officer of the Duval Supervisor of Elections, told Action News Jax’s Courtney Cole that 397 people came down to the Supervisor of Elections in downtown Jacksonville to get registered.

Supervisor of Elections staff assembled tents outside to allow people to register to vote without having to go through the COVID-19 prescreening necessary to enter the building.

“Again, 2020 has thrown us some challenges,” Phillips said.

There was even a little rain thrown into the mix today, but it didn’t stop folks from coming out.

“Out here, we have a lot of activity. We’ve been going since first thing this morning,” Phillips told Action News Jax.

There were people of all ages from all walks of life — some even registered for the very first time like Lemark Jamison.

Monday, Oct. 5, is a day he will always remember.

“It feels awesome, you know? It feels awesome,” Jamison told Cole.

Today, Jamison had the opportunity to register to vote for the first time in Florida.

“I’ve worked for voter registration companies. I’ve done advocating for Amendment 4, but I was never able to vote because of my prior background. But now I can,” Jamison said.

Jamison, the owner of a tax and credit repair business, told Cole his prior felony conviction held him back in the past.

In November 2018, more than 60% of Floridians voted to restore voting rights to more than 1 million people who completed their sentences.

But several months later, legislation was passed that required them to pay all financial penalties, which means thousands lost the right as quickly as they gained it.

“I’ve been contributing to society. I’ve been able to have several businesses. And I pay taxes. But I haven’t been able to, when it comes to voting, whether in a local level or any type of legislature — I haven’t been able to vote,” Jamison said.

The 35-year-old told Cole even though his wife helped him fill out his voter registration form — to which he exclaimed, “Thank God for wives, right?” — he told Cole it was pretty easy.

Now, he has this advice to share with other people who may be in his shoes:

“Get out and vote. Take advantage of this opportunity, regardless of who you plan on voting for.”

Here’s a breakdown from the Supervisor of Elections of how the 397 people registered today:

-56% registered as Democrats.

-21% registered as Republicans.

-22% registered as nonparty affiliates.



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