Press Release

Cross River and Operation Hope Provide Life-Changing Improvement for Consumers’ Financial Health

Cross River

September 27, 2023

3 min read

Financial literacy program aided in reducing client debt during challenging environment where Federal Reserve saw consumer credit rates increase

Longstanding partnership works to close financial inequality gap through financial education and economic inclusion

FORT LEE, N.J. - Cross River Bank (“Cross River”), a technology infrastructure provider that offers embedded financial solutions, is pleased to share mid-year results from its partnership with Operation Hope: HOPE Inside Cross River, which provides life-changing financial literacy education and financial planning to empower local small business owners and individuals on their path to financial stability and freedom.

“More than ever, consumers need support in managing their financial wellness,” said Nicole Henderson, Head of Community Affairs at Cross River. “We’re proud of the results we’ve achieved through our long-standing partnership with Operation Hope. Together, we are making a profound impact on the lives of our community members by empowering them to take control of their finances for future financial success.”

While the Federal Reserve’s Consumer Credit Report recently found that consumer credit and revolving credit increased during the second quarter, HOPE Inside Cross River has helped 50% of clients to reduce their revolving debt during the first half of 2023. The financial coaching program works with hundreds of local NY and NJ small business owners and individuals, many which are underbanked, to improve their financial health.

“We applaud Cross River's leadership for their commitment to the financial wellbeing of their clients,” said Operation HOPE founder, chairman and CEO, John Hope Bryant. “Our shared goal is to grow the bottom line for every American’s personal business plan by reducing debt and increasing savings. Even in the face of rising debt and cost-of-living increases, this partnership demonstrates that our award-winning coaching model works."

In addition to reducing debt, 86% of clients in the program also increased their savings and 81% improved their credit scores by 30 points. Financial literacy is a strong indicator of positive financial outcomes for the future but a 2020 FINRA study found differing levels of financial literacy among Americans may contribute to widening inequality among different segments of the population. Cross River and Operation Hope are working to close the inequality gap in financial education.

“Central to our mission of advancing financial inclusion is providing financial resources to businesses and consumers in need - whether through responsible access to credit, innovative payment solutions or financial literacy programming and support,” said Arlen Gelbard, EVP, General Counsel at Cross River and Northeastern Board Member of Operation Hope. “Our partnership with Operation Hope and sponsorship of two HOPE Inside locations,allows us to put boots on the ground in making this mission a reality and transforming the lives of consumers and their financial health.”

“When I started on this journey to understand my financial health and become an entrepreneur, I did not understand the connection between my credit score and business plans,” said Melissa D.W., a small business development client of HOPE Inside Cross River. “These sessions have increased my credit score, my understanding of business and have provided me with the tools and resources to make my goals and dreams a reality. As a single mom and woman of color, thank you for helping me to build my confidence, so I no longer see barriers in business but new challenges that I have all I need to overcome!”

Cross River and Operation HOPE have been partners since 2019, expanding the community’s financial wellness through their two locations. Since opening its doors in 2008, Cross River has been committed to developing innovative, secure and responsible financial products and services with the goal of providing access to financial resources to those in need.