First Tennessee/HOPE will offer free financial education to area youth, adults and small businesses

From left to right: Kenneth Curtis, First Tennessee Bank Regional Sales Manager, Ryan Meyers, Financial Center Manager, Carol Yochem, President of First Tennessee Bank in Middle Tennessee, Brenda Gilmore, Tennessee State Representative for the 54th District, Kathy Buggs, Director of Community Service for Congressman Jim Cooper, Sherita Goodman, Midwest Regional VP for Operation Hope, and Michael Morrow, Hope Inside Manager at First Tennessee Bank's Metro Center location.

From left to right: Kenneth Curtis, First Tennessee Bank Regional Sales Manager, Ryan Meyers, Financial Center Manager, Carol Yochem, President of First Tennessee Bank in Middle Tennessee, Brenda Gilmore, Tennessee State Representative for the 54th District, Kathy Buggs, Director of Community Service for Congressman Jim Cooper, Sherita Goodman, Midwest Regional VP for Operation Hope, and Michael Morrow, Hope Inside Manager at First Tennessee Bank’s Metro Center location.

NASHVILLE, Tenn., Leaders of First Tennessee Bank in Middle Tennessee were joined last Thursday, August 10, by Tennessee State Representative Brenda Gilmore to celebrate the grand opening of the newest HOPE Inside location at the bank’s branch on Rosa L. Parks Blvd in Nashville.

The event started with a welcome from Randy Newton, executive vice president.

Part of a $1 million partnership between First Tennessee’s Financial Education & Empowerment Program and global financial dignity and economic empowerment nonprofit Operation HOPE, Inc the location will provide free financial education to area residents and small businesses. “We are committed to our partnership with Operation HOPE and providing the resources to empower people to help themselves,” said Carol Yochem, president of First Tennessee Bank in Middle Tennessee. “This newest Nashville location will help our neighbors achieve economic dignity and secure their financial futures by learning how to build healthy credit with tools, classes and counseling.”

The HOPE Inside program at First Tennessee begins with participation in one of the free monthly credit and money management workshops, facilitated by First Tennessee’s employee volunteers, strategic nonprofit alliance partners and counselors. Once the workshop is completed, Operation HOPE financial wellbeing coaches work as private bankers for the participants, who have committed to improving their credit scores.

“It’s important for adults of all ages to know their credit score. You can’t do much financially without a good one. It affects so much when it comes to car notes, buying a house and more,” said Lethia Mann, Vice President Loan Administration at Nashville Minority Business Development Loan Fund, Inc.

Participants are also counseled on the language of money and work with their coaches to help transform established financial mindsets, develop customized action plans and make better decisions with their money. Three-hour workshops are held one Saturday morning each month at HOPE Inside locations.

The first workshop at Metro Center was slated for August 19.

The first HOPE Inside at a First Tennessee Bank location opened in November 2014 in Memphis. Metro Center marks the 13th location since First Tennessee started partnering with Operation Hope.

Since 2014, First Tennessee HOPE Inside locations have served more than 5,200 members of local communities. More information is available in the community engagement section of www.FirstTennessee.com.

In addition to credit and money management, programming covers homeownership preparedness and small business entrepreneurship. Every office holds consumer credit counseling certification, CFPB, FDIC, U.S. SBA, EITC, HUD, and FEMA applications and partnerships. The HOPE 700-Credit-Score-Communities initiative supports participants in raising their credit scores to 700, which is a threshold for establishing good credit.

The HOPE Inside model has allowed private financial institutions to sustainably scale, and sustainably package and deliver, financial literacy and empowerment programming for, free to the clients for free.

Today, there are more than 60 existing locations across the nation, and commitments for more than 250 new offices within the next 18 months.

This is the third First Tennessee HOPE Inside location to open in Middle Tennessee, following the 2015 opening at the Inglewood financial center on Gallatin Pike in Nashville and the Church Street location in Murfreesboro, which opened this past May.