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Serving Up Financial Health

July 8, 2021
Gary Lorio
Gary Lorio

There’s nothing more critical than having the right ingredients and tools when creating a winning recipe. Whenever Hancock Whitney’s Portfolio Manager, Brian King, steps through Café Reconcile’s doors, the teams’ combined expertise creates an impeccable financial health pairing.


The café offers more than a soul-food menu: it provides workforce development and training, life skills classes, and job placement services to youth ranging from the ages of 16 to 24. These young adults often come from backgrounds of generational poverty, have experienced violence or neglect, and may have had brushes with the juvenile justice system, to name a few common challenges.


“When I think about my time with them, I think about how much I would want someone to reach out to, had I been in their situation. I truly enjoy being able to share information and knowledge, so they can use it to improve their everyday lives,” said King.


Every month, King accompanies Financial Center Leader Janelle O'Brien, who has been part of the Hancock Whitney financial health partnership with Cafe Reconcile from the start, to provide the restaurant’s young staff with an hour of guidance on financial planning as a Hancock Whitney Community Connection participant. Session topics range from starting a bank account to credit strategies, and the classes take place on the third floor of the restaurant.


King and other Hancock Whitney associates partner with Cafe Reconcile to teach financial education to their interns, establishing strong financial foundations for future success. 


When King first started out volunteering at the site in June of 2020, he was unsure of how the youth would react to his lessons. Then, an exchange with one of his more vocal students drove home the full impact of his volunteerism.


“We had one student who was very curious. He had me break down credit and debit differences and use. He had such negative ideas about credit, he didn’t realize their benefits in terms of budgeting,” said King.


The Slidell, Louisiana native took time to deepen his young student’s understanding, and was able to witness his student’s successful program graduation. “He was incredibly happy about his achievement. It meant a lot to me, it made me see how community betterment happens, firsthand,” said King. Since then, he’s seen a bevy of his students walk into better futures.


King said his passion for service developed early on in his childhood, when he was inspired by his father’s dedication to community service and entrepreneurial spirit. His father, Chris King, owned and operated two McDonald’s franchise locations, and instilled in young Brian the value of hard work and effective financial management.


“That’s why I feel called to share the importance of financial health. You can help people get started on the path to a better life,” said King.


He encourages his fellow team members to tag along to any volunteer opportunities. “Being with Hancock Whitney expands your access and increases your impact. It’s an incredible opportunity.”


To learn more about Hancock Whitney’s community commitment, visit this link.