Opportunity is knocking

Published 12:00 am Tuesday, August 14, 2018

Money problems can sink a person’s self-esteem and hope like a heavy rock. Now, fortunately, Rowan County residents fighting to break free of such burdens can get help through Operation Hope.

Here to introduce the program in Salisbury last week was Bryan Jordan, a Rowan County native who is CEO of the Memphis-based bank First Horizons National Corp. No doubt he learned much of his financial savvy from dad David Jordan, longtime leader here of Home Federal Savings and Loan. A Business North Carolina editor recently called Bryan Jordan “the most successful banker to come out of Salisbury since Wall Street legend Julian Robertson.” Like Robertson, Bryan Jordan believes in helping others, including those in his hometown. Operation Hope is a fitting vehicle for that.

The testimonials on the nonprofit’s website, operationhope.org, reflect the range of financial fixes people face. “I am no longer defined by one mistake,” says Edwin Walker, who was taking care of his mother when he got in over his head with lender services that he could not repay. Regina Burpo lost her job. Andrea Techaira lost her home, her business and her marriage. Andrew Tobias finished college with big credit card debt. Job loss and illness are common themes, as is too-easy credit.

Operation Hope provides free financial counseling, financial help, credit repair and other services so people can work their way out of their dismal credit scores and get back on their feet. That improvement goes beyond the individual.

“It’s a great opportunity for us to essentially strengthen the economic fabric of the community, and I’m really proud that we have the opportunity to do it here in Salisbury,” Jordan said Thursday.

In Salisbury, Operation Hope is based at Capital Bank on Faith Road, but an account there is not a prerequisite to getting help.

A program like this underscores the need for greater financial literacy, from understanding interest rates to knowing how to invest retirement funds. Despite the healthy economy, countless families live paycheck to paycheck. U.S. household debt reached $13.2 trillion in the first quarter of 2018, significantly higher than its peak before the recession hit.

There’s an urgent need to increase financial literacy and prevent people from sinking deeper into debt than they can afford. Operation Hope is offering a lifeline.  Spread the word.