FDIC CHAIRMAN ANNOUNCES FINANCIAL EDUCATION INITIATIVE
The FDIC has created a new alliance initiative "designed to increase financial literacy in communities where it is most needed." Money Smart, the financial education program released by the FDIC last year, "is uniquely designed to address the needs of low- and moderate-income people and bring them into healthy banking relationships," said FDIC Chairman Powell. The goal of the Money Smart Alliance Program is to establish partnerships with 1,000 organizations and institutions in all 50 states and distribute 100,000 copies of the Money Smart curriculum to educate one million consumers in finance.
Money Smart is a series of teaching modules on finance. The program was designed by educational experts, is easy to teach and learn, and was designed to be flexible (it can be taught as a package or as individual modules). The program is not copyrighted and is available free of charge. Money Smart is available in English and Spanish, and Korean and Chinese versions are in production. The FDIC is also developing a CD-ROM version.
Powell stressed the importance of this initiative to regulators and America as way to reach those without traditional banking relationships. Educating consumers will help them avoid costly "fringe" banking services and will help combat predatory lending. And, banks that use the program in their communities are eligible for CRA credit.
Already, the FDIC has established educational partnerships with the Department of Labor, the Neighborhood Reinvestment Corporation, Operation Hope, the Office of the White House Initiative on Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders, the Mississippi Housing Initiative, the IRS's Voluntary Income Tax Assistance Centers, the Texas Cooperative Extension, the Georgia Community Bankers Association, Korean Churches for Community Development, and the National Coalition for Asian Pacific American Community Development, among others. More than 7,500 copies of the curriculum have been distributed across the nation. One-third of those went to FDIC-insured banks and to credit unions.
Powell sees great promise in this new initiative. "Working together, we can reach the unbanked and underserved population in ways we never dreamed before, to help build strong communities and not only to attain, but to sustain the American dream." Additional information about Money Smart is available at www.fdic.gov.