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Joining the Financial Literacy and Education Commission


Today, I attended my first public meeting of the Financial Literacy and Education Commission. Financial education has been a passion of mine for years. The ability to understand and control one’s finances is one of the most important life skills. It creates a path to economic independence and mobility. I view it as fundamental to responsible citizenship in our system of economic democracy.

As Director of the CFPB, I will serve as the Vice Chair of the Commission. I am proud to work with the representatives of the Commission who represent agencies throughout the federal government as we share a common vision of sustained financial well-being for all Americans.

At the Consumer Bureau, one of our responsibilities is to provide consumers with tools to manage their own financial lives. Yesterday, we posted a draft monthly mortgage statement to solicit feedback from consumers, industry stakeholders, and others. The information is intended to help consumers stay on top of their mortgage costs, and hold mortgage servicers accountable for fixing errors. We have also launched several Know Before You Owe campaigns to bring greater transparency to the markets for mortgages, credit cards, and student loans.

Giving people the tools and helping them build the skills to manage their money boosts personal confidence and protects their dignity. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. once said that “The dignity of the individual will flourish when the decisions concerning his life are in his own hands, when he has the means to seek self-improvement.” At the Consumer Bureau, we believe in empowering people to make informed financial decisions and then take responsibility for those decisions.

  • 888295mimi

    There was an excellent program on financial literacy the other day on public radio, where, two “experts”, individuals who have studied financially literacy worldwide, debated the pros and cons of requiring financial literacy instruction in the public school system. When I suggested to a few of my friend’s kids  to take the financial literacy class, an elective at their high school a few years back,  they responded “no way”!  Now they are working low wage jobs,  some slowly attending college, and most not being able to afford their own car or to buy new clothes (thank goodness for Goodwill!). Some are still living at home with their parents.  Now I’m of the mindset  that everyone should be required to take a financial literacy class before they are issued their first credit card!

  • Ernest Johnson

    Some people are illiterate because they want to be.  One way to make an illiterate person appear literate is to attach a computer to his or her spending hand.  But, that’s impossible.  The next best thing is to require banks to allow consumers to use their own budget forecasting software with their debit or credit cards and replace bank approvals with declines according to the future plans of consumers to collect, save and spend money.  Over time, the computer will teach consumers to become more financially literate.

  • Velma Ybarra

     Will there be opportunities for non profits to apply for funds to help counsel and provide legal services to prevent home foreclosures through this agency?

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