One-on-one: Chad Cooper — CEO of One Hope Financial Institution

Financial Advisors

Chad Cooper

Flooding from Hurricane Katrina evacuated most of Chad Cooper’s family from New Orleans, but his paraplegic father remained missing for several anxiety-filled days.

It wasn’t until a friend saw Cooper’s father on TV a few days later in a crowd filmed from a packed convention center that the family was able to save him.

That experience inspired Cooper to turn his career towards financial literacy in 2005 so he could help people of color find stability and the means to become independent.

“When you look at all the people stranded outside the convention center and the Superdome, most of them poor black people, they were clearly neglected and left out,” Cooper said.

Cooper, who has a long history in the world of financial advising, recently became CEO of Albuquerque’s new One Hope Financial Institute.

The institution, which opened on January 31, will provide loans to minority business owners using personality-based lending rather than traditional metrics such as collateral and credit scores. Business owners also get technical assistance, financial advice, and networking opportunities.

“Generally speaking, white-owned business owners are twice as likely to get a loan as minority-owned business owners,” says Cooper. “Even if they take out loans, they are having trouble paying them back because the interest rates are so high. It is also important to be able to provide continuous service for

In addition to his day-to-day work as an investment advisor at Prudential and Gateway Financial Advisors, Cooper has volunteered time in financial literacy classes working with local credit unions and the African-American Greater Albuquerque Chamber of Commerce. .

He also volunteered for more unusual gigs.

For example, when his son was on the Sandia Prep baseball team, Cooper would record “little walk-up songs” tailored to each player and play music between innings. He did it for three years.

“There’s actually an app for that,” he says. “It was an absolute blast.”

Please tell me about lending out “Character Base”.

“A white-owned business can end up in a bank situation to get a loan. One of the things the bank is going to look at is collateral. Minority business owners don’t always have access to intergenerational wealth to get the same level of collateral, especially if you’re a startup, but we’re focused on character based lending like ours. We help organizations understand what their business, payment history looks like. We assess the willingness to go through. We can assess that as a lending criterion, not just look at other…more traditional metrics.”

Was financial planning what you always wanted to do?

“Yeah. I saw “Wall Street” when I was a kid. I grew up in his 80’s so this movie was decadent. Having a degree in economics, I knew that was what I was going to do.

How do you spend your free time?

“I’m trying to really protect my weekends and protect my nights because I have so much to do. It’s family time. We’re all athletes in my home. I’m a college baseball player and probably the worst in the house.” athlete.”

what was your first job?

“There was a paper route. In New Orleans, there was a black-owned newspaper called the Louisiana Weekly. I had to dissect a squid in junior high school, so I sold plastic gloves, which I thought was terrible.My mother gave me a box of rubber gloves. I had it, so I started selling it to kids at school for 25 cents, and my mother was kind of mad.”

What is your favorite food?

“Red beans and rice and gumbo. But I miss my Cajun food when I’m here… but when I’m eating great food in New Orleans, I start missing my green chilies. I have lived in two cities that offer the best local cuisine.”

What are your own experiences with racism?

“I always want to be careful because my experience is not necessarily the experience of others. I grew up in the South, and for most of my career starting a business, being a financial advisor in Albuquerque, and living in New Mexico, I’ve seen racism, especially against black people. I’ve done a fair amount of business in the southeastern part of the state where I’ve been around people saying these things that are considered racist. But they have me—the black me—running their entire retirement nest egg, right? I did…they made a derogatory comment about our black business owners, and it was a little maddening. We have some conversations about individuals.”

Do you have any regrets?

“Oh yeah. Where do I start? I certainly made a decision that made my life harder than it needed to be. But even if it turned out to be a bad decision, well. I know I’ve thought it through, and I’ll figure out how to proceed from there.”

What are some words of wisdom that you have received?

“Don’t burn bridges, build and maintain good relationships with people. This cycle of helping others is that you give it, it comes back to you, you keep giving it, I’ll be back, and I think that’s true, it may come back in some other form, but it will come back.”


Basics: Chad Dominic Cooper, 50, born in New Orleans. He has been married to Melita Cooper White since 2018. He has two children, Santiago Cooper (18 years old) and Amaya Banks (10 years old). One pet, a bunny named Ninja. He received a master’s degree in business administration from the University of New Mexico in 2001 and a bachelor’s degree in economics and sociology/anthropology from Middlebury College in 1995.

position: CEO of One Hope Financial Institution from January 2023. Since September 2017, Financial Advisor at Gateway Financial Advisors. Financial Advisor, Prudential, 2003-2017. From 2000 until 2003 he was Director of Interactive Services for Rick Johnson & Co.

other: President of the New Mexico Chapter of the National Association of Insurance and Financial Advisers. President-Elect, African-American Greater Albuquerque Chamber of Commerce. Past President of the UNM Alumni Association and Chair of the Finance Committee. Past volunteer for Sandia Prep Sundevil Athletic Organization, Loan Fund, Leadership Albuquerque, People Living through Cancer.

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