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Detroit — A nonprofit financial empowerment agency is opening its first Michigan location next week at the Northwest Activities Center.

Operation HOPE collaborated with Fifth Third Bank and the City of Detroit through the Bank On Detroit program to open the HOPE Inside location. The organization will offer credit and home ownership counseling, entrepreneur training and money management workshops to Detroiters. The services are free.

HOPE Inside is part of Mayor Mike Duggan’s plan to boost entrepreneurship and financial literacy in the city.

“Operation HOPE is here as an answer to Detroit Mayor Mike Duggan’s call to create more opportunities and empowerment for the residents of Detroit,” John Hope Bryant, author and founder of HOPE, said in a statement. “Our collaboration with Fifth Third Bank and Bank on Detroit is a natural fit, given our collective interest in helping individuals and families in unbanked and underbanked communities to develop and thrive.”

To mark the occasion, a grand opening celebration will be held 9:30 a.m. Tuesday at the Fifth Third Bank financial center inside the Northwest Activities Center at 18100 Meyers. Duggan will provide the keynote address.

HOPE Inside will offer a dedicated financial literacy counselor to deliver workshops and one-on-one client support at no charge. Residents can enroll in credit and money management workshops and/or one-on-one counseling services to learn how to improve their financial profile, budgeting, reading a credit score, and their rights as consumers. The location will provide a course in entrepreneurial training, teaching skills like evaluating feasibility, selecting a business name, conducting market research, advertising, securing startup money, exploring distribution channels and accessing capital.

Byna Elliott, senior vice president for Fifth Third Bank Eastern Michigan said the collaboration between her bank, HOPE and Bank On was ideal because they all believe in financial empowerment.

“Given the fact that all organizations share a mission of improving financial literacy in underserved areas, we are strategically aligned to create a significant impact in northwest Detroit,” said Elliott, who is also Fifth Third’s Community and Economic Development Director. “By uniting our core competencies, we are in a position to enhance communities by helping thousands of individuals take control of their financial lives by improving their credit scores and developing a new generation of entrepreneurs.”

Fifth Third Bank’s involvement with HOPE is part of its “5/3 in the D” initiative, which is an $85 million commitment to the city. That includes moving its headquarters to the historic One Woodward Building. Other components involve charitable donations, marketing sponsorships, small business lending, Community Development Corporation tax credit investments and economic impact contributions over the next five years.

HOPE Inside has 23 different locations across the world, helping more than 2.2 million people. Anyone wishing to attend the grand opening celebration is asked to register by calling (313) 515-1706.

lrazzaq@detroitnews.com

(313) 222-2127

@laurenarazzaq

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