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A Ray of HOPE for American Consumers

As we work to build a consumer bureau that’s responsive to today’s most pressing problems, many of us at the CFPB have travelled across the country to listen to a wide range of citizens, communities, and organizations. We’ve met with community bankers in Illinois, heard from our servicemembers at Joint Base San Antonio, and nearly got snowed in visiting small businesses in Maine – but that’s a story for another blog post!

No matter where we go, we meet people who are working hard every day to secure their financial futures and help others in their community do the same. It might be a teacher devoting a lesson plan to balancing a personal budget, new parents looking to save for their child’s future, or a high school senior relentlessly completing grant, loan, and scholarship applications to pay for college. Every day, across the country, individuals are demonstrating a commitment to personal financial responsibility, and they rely on financial education and having basic consumer protections in their pursuit.

Sometimes, they also need some help – and some HOPE. Earlier this week, I accompanied Professor Warren and members of our team to a roundtable listening session organized by Operation HOPE, a non-profit organization teaching financial literacy. This Operation HOPE branch is located in the Anacostia neighborhood of Washington, DC, where they are working hard to empower and protect consumers. We heard first-hand how their important work has enabled individuals to realize dreams of entrepreneurship and to get a handle on their finances through credit counseling and financial literacy training.

The listening session was an important reminder that American consumers are not in this alone. There are trusted resource centers on the ground to direct consumers to responsible lenders and beneficial products, and to be there for a community when jobs leave and individuals are forced to do more with less. Informed consumers can scrutinize product choices, understand their rights, and identify when and where to seek help. To keep the costs and risks of products clear upfront, we need a strong consumer bureau that can implement and enforce the Federal consumer financial laws.

We at the CFPB are working hard to build a consumer bureau that will be there for you when you need help the most – and that will keep consumer financial products and services clear and transparent, so you understand the terms and risks upfront. But these days, American consumers can use all the help they can get, and Operation HOPE and organizations like it are a great place to start.

If you or someone you know is struggling with their finances or looking for sound advice, reach out to a professional financial empowerment center in your area . Arm yourself with good questions . Don’t wait – take care of it right now. This National Consumer Protection Week, that’s an easy way to help secure your financial future.

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