OAKLAND (KCBS) – Hundreds crowded into a downtown Oakland hotel on Tuesday, getting the chance to hear how they can become financially literate.

Operation Hope is billed as a social investment banking and financial literacy empowerment organization.

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Founder and CEO John Hope Bryant said it’s all about helping people to be smarter when making big financial decisions.

KCBS’ Dave Padilla Reports:

“50 percent of those in foreclosure today don’t pick up the phone and call their lender,” Bryant said. “It’s not that the lender gave them a bad answer. They just didn’t call.”

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He said unbelievably, an estimated 40 million people in the United States do not have a bank account.

Financial journalist and Moneywise public television host Kelvin Boston said people are searching for answers to their financial dilemmas.

“For example, if you are employed and struggling to pay your mortgage, this is a recession,” he said. “However, if you are unemployed and lost your home to foreclosure, this is a depression.”

Operation Hope targets low-income and underserved areas. There is a chapter in Oakland’s Fruitvale District.

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