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Community Affairs:
Financial Literacy Resource Directory

This directory provides information on financial literacy resources, issues and events that are important to bankers, organizations, and consumers of all ages. The directory includes descriptions and contact information for a sampling of organizations that have undertaken financial literacy initiatives as a primary mission, government programs, fact sheets, newsletters, conference materials, publications, and links to Web sites.

In advisory letter AL 2001-1 , the OCC provided national banks with information on the types of financial literacy programs that have been undertaken by banks and aspects of those programs that have been most important to their success.

Reaching New Bank Customers Through the Earned Income Tax Credit (PDF 2MB) - This publication highlights efforts of national banks and other financial institutions-along with their nonprofit and government partners-to help promote the use of EITCs in their communities.

Financial Literacy and Education Commission The Financial Literacy and Education Commission (Commission) was established under Title V of the Fair and Accurate Credit Transactions (FACT) Act of 2003 to improve financial literacy and education of persons in the United States. The Commission is chaired by the Secretary of the Treasury and composed of 19 other Federal agencies. The principal duties of the Commission include encouraging government and private sector efforts to promote financial literacy; coordinating financial education efforts of the Federal government; identification and promotion of best practices; development of a national strategy to promote financial literacy; establishment of a website to serve as a clearinghouse and provide information about financial education programs and grants; and establishment of a toll-free hotline (1-888-MyMoney) available to provide information about issues of financial literacy and education.

The President's Advisory Council on Financial Literacy (the Council) was created on January 22, 2008 by President George W. Bush. The Council's purpose is to help keep America competitive and assist the American people in understanding and addressing financial matters. The Council will work with the public and private sector to help increase financial education efforts for youth in school and for adults in the workplace, increase access to financial services, establish measures of national financial literacy, conduct research on financial knowledge and to help strengthen public and private sector financial education programs.

"Taking Ownership of the Future: The National Strategy for Financial Literacy" - Nationwide Conferences

In April 2006, the FLEC published "Taking Ownership of the Future: The National Strategy for Financial Literacy." As part of the National Strategy, during 2006 and 2007, the FLEC agencies hosted a series of four regional conferences to share strategies and best practices around banking the unbanked. Each conference link below will bring you to the conference agenda, a list of speakers, and presentations and information presented.

  • Midwest Regional Conference - "Making Business Sense of Serving the Unbanked" - Chicago, Illinois - May 1, 2006
    Topics: Partnerships and solutions, serving immigrant communities, business benefits of serving the unbanked, reaching young customers, and financial education.
  • Southwest Regional Conference - "Unbanked at the Border and Serving Immigrant Unbanked" - Edinburg, Texas - December 4, 2006
    Topics: Unbanked people in border and immigrant communities, financial institutions' role in financial literacy, impact of being unbanked, and a survey of Latino Earned Income Tax Credit filers in border communities.
  • Northwest Regional Conference - "Working Together to Move People Ahead" - Seattle, Washington - March 27, 2007
    Topics: Regional needs, large and small institutional models for reaching the unbanked, role of community-based organizations in reaching the unbanked, and updates on state and federal policies.
  • Eastern Regional Conference - "Reaching Unbanked People" -New York, New York - October 4, - 2007
    Topics: Reaching unbanked people, participation in the financial mainstream, asset-building and financial access, and alternative financial institutions.

Basic financial services and asset building

General Resources

The Alliance for Investor Education is a non-profit organization of 18 associations, government agencies and self-regulatory bodies that are leaders in investor education/financial literacy.

The Society for Financial Education and Professional Development, Inc. (SFEPD) develops and presents financial literacy and professional development training for individuals and organizations. To ensure the accomplishment of its mission, the organization works with financial and education institutions, governmental units, corporations, and foundations, that support financial education and professional development programs. The U.S. Department of Treasury's Office of Financial Education has recognized SFEPD seminars for meeting their criteria for effective financial education programs.

The Federal Reserve System has developed a campaign to call attention to the importance of personal financial education entitled "There's a Lot to Learn about Money." The campaign includes public service announcements as well as educational resources.

Native Financial Education Coalition (NFEC) - The NFEC brings together local, regional and national organizations and governments to promote financial education in Native communities. By working collaboratively, NFEC members seek to increase awareness about the need for financial education in Native communities through outreach, policy and research. They look for ways to build the financial education capacity of Native governments and organizations by offering instructor training and information about national financial education resources. Working with financial institutions, NFEC helps to provide financial literacy training to tribes throughout the nation.

Individual Development Accounts: An Asset Building Product for Lower-Income Consumers ( PDF 582KB) (February 2005) Abstract - This edition of Insights examines Individual Development Accounts (IDAs) as a tool for banks and other financial institutions to encourage lower-income persons and families to save money and thus build assets for particular financial goals. It describes why banks offer IDAs, shows how banks are involved with IDAs, and addresses barriers to the growth of IDA products. The information presented here was obtained from a variety of sources including financial institutions, IDA policymakers, nonprofit service providers, and program funders. Several hundred banks participate in IDA programs which can receive positive consideration under the Community Reinvestment Act. Appendix 1 of the Insights paper contains a resource guide for banks considering participation in an IDA program.

Financial Literacy (PDF) Community Developments Fact Sheet

Individual Development Accounts (PDF) Community Developments Fact Sheet

Volunteer Income Tax Assistance Program (VITA)
The VITA Program offers free tax help to low- to moderate-income ($38,000 and below) people who cannot prepare their own tax returns. Volunteers sponsored by various organizations receive training to help prepare basic tax returns in communities across the country. VITA sites are generally located at community and neighborhood centers, libraries, schools, shopping malls, and other convenient locations. Most locations also offer free electronic filing. To locate the nearest VITA site, call 1-800-829-1040.

School Programs

The American Bankers Association's Education Foundation provides bankers with the tools to help youngsters gain the necessary skills they need to become financially astute. Programs cover saving, budgeting and credit, and are designed for students from kindergarten through college.

The Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System offers an online resource, aimed at teaching middle school and high school students about economics and personal finances by having them construct a newspaper front page. Students are provided with instructions and a template for designing the newspaper, and are expected to consult with the Federal Reserve's web site, for information needed. The project helps teachers meet national and state academic content standards for high school economics and personal finance courses.

Jump$tart Coalition for Personal Financial Literacy maintains a clearinghouse of resources that seek to promote financial literacy.

Junior Achievement (JA) brings volunteers into the classroom to make economic concepts relevant for grades K-12. JA offers financial literacy programs at every grade level K-12 in the classroom and after school. JA partners business volunteers with local classrooms, where JA volunteers facilitate lessons in financial literacy, workforce preparation, and economics. JA trains and prepares all volunteers and provides the lesson plans and materials.

Money Math: Lessons for Life is a curriculum supplement launched by a diverse partnership of private companies, nonprofit organizations, and the Treasury Department for students in grades 7-9 that addresses mathematical concepts using real-world financial scenarios.

The National Academy Foundation (NAF) sponsors the Academy of Finance, a school-to-career curriculum operating in 40 states and 300 high schools, serving over 20,000 students. The OCC partners with schools or school districts in 28 locations across the country to support academies of finance. Banks serve as advisory board members to local affiliates and employ hundreds of students every summer through the academy's internship program.

The National Council on Economic Education provides personal finance and economics education through classroom curricula and the Internet. For example, its Financial Fitness for Life curriculum presents key concepts in economics and personal finance, using a variety of real life examples appropriate to particular age groups.

School-Based Bank Savings Programs: Bringing Financial Education to Students (PDF) - Banks establish school-based bank savings programs as financial education initiatives to help students learn about the importance of saving and other money management topics. This edition of the OCC's Community Developments Insights discusses how school-based bank savings programs operate.

Adult Basic Financial Services

Operation Hope - Banking on Our Future - Operation Hope, Inc. (OHI), a private nonprofit financial empowerment organization, offers a national financial literacy program. Enlisting the services of its many national partners as instructors, OHI is able to reach out to hundreds of schools and other organizations throughout the country.

The National Endowment for Financial Education (NEFE) is a foundation dedicated to helping all Americans acquire the information and gain the skills necessary to take control of their personal finances. NEFE accomplishes its mission primarily by partnering with other concerned organizations to provide financial education to the public, and particularly to underserved individuals whose financial education needs are not being addressed by others. The NEFE also has launched a National Financial Literacy Campaign that encourages Americans to start achieving their financial goals today by accessing practical information on the Smart About Money Website.

The Money Smart program, developed jointly by the Department of Labor and the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation, provides a comprehensive adult financial education curriculum at centers nationwide that offer employment and training services. Banks and other institutions can also use this curriculum to serve their communities. The curriculum is available in English, Spanish, Korean, Chinese, and Vietnamese.

Building Native Communities: Financial Skills for Families is a curriculum designed to enhance the capacity of Native tribes, organizations, and people to better manage their financial assets. Tribal organizations, nonprofits, and banks can use this curriculum, developed through a partnership between First Nations Development Institute and the Fannie Mae Foundation, to improve consumer financial literacy in their communities.

Asset Builders of America is a non-profit organization, sponsored by a group of banks in Wisconsin, that promotes financial literacy for people of all ages. It provides day-long seminars and weekly sessions for middle school and high school students, as well as adult learning seminars that cover basic to more advanced financial topics.

The Financial Services Education Coalition was formed by the Department of the Treasury in conjunction with the Electronic Funds Transfer (EFT) 99 initiative requiring direct deposit for most federal payments by January 2, 1999. The council has published a guide, "Helping People in Your Community Understand Basic Financial Services," intended for community educators for use with a variety of audiences who currently do not have accounts with financial institutions or who need basic information about how to use accounts.

The NeighborWorks® Network includes the neighborhood revitalization and educational services offered by NeighborWorks® America, Neighborhood Housing Services of America, and a national network of public and private partnerships. Through their "Financial Fitness Training Program" local NeighborWorks® affiliates teach the basics of finances and consumer skills by addressing topics such as setting financial goals, assets and liabilities, and using banks wisely.

The Department of Agriculture Cooperative Extension System provides leadership to state, regional, and county-level educators who deliver basic consumer education; teaches personal financial management skills to youth, limited-resource families, and young families; and promotes comprehensive financial planning throughout the life cycle.

The Woodstock Institute has produced a guide targeted to a wide range of financial literacy providers that would like to know how effective their programs are but need a format with which to evaluate them. "Evaluating Your Financial Literacy Program: A Practical Guide" can be used to help organizations discover what works best for their customers.

Institute for Financial Literacy accomplishes its mission by working with organizations to incorporate financial education into their existing services. The Institute also provides direct delivery of financial counseling and education to the general public and this year will work with close to 70,000 Americans. Also as the national authority on adult financial education, the Institute advances professionalism and effectiveness in the field of financial literacy by setting the National Standards for Adult Financial Literacy Education.

Individual Development Accounts (IDAs)

Corporation for Enterprise Development (CFED)
CFED promotes asset-building and economic opportunity strategies, primarily in low-income and distressed communities, that bring together community practice, public policy, and private markets. CFED has promoted the IDA as a means of enabling low-income individuals to develop assets and is currently drafting certification standards for IDA Programs. CFED coordinates the American Dream Demonstration (ADD), a large-scale IDA program which has designed and implemented IDA initiatives in 13 locations around the country.

Assets for Independence Demonstration (AFI)
The AFI Demonstration is the first federal law to fund IDA programs. Administered by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, this initiative has been authorized to fund 5-year project grants to establish new IDAs across the country.

Retirement and Financial Security

Consumer Federation of America (CFA)
America Saves Campaign

CFA is developing locally based campaigns to publicize the value of building savings and reducing debt to Americans who have not saved adequately. Local offices of the U.S. Department of Labor provide support on each campaign, and U.S. Savings Bonds are one of the savings products promoted. America Saves involves local nonprofit, government, and business leaders in each campaign.

Choose to Save
Education Program

Sponsored by the Employee Benefit Research Institute and the American Savings Education Council, this public education campaign on retirement savings has run for three years in the Washington, D.C., metropolitan area. The campaign includes a series of public service announcements, weekly news segments, and an annual one-hour prime time television special.

Credit management and credit repair

National Foundation for Credit Counseling, Inc. (NFCC) - The NFCC is the nation's oldest and largest nonprofit credit counseling organization. With 115 member agencies and nearly 1,000 local offices throughout the country, NFCC agencies counsel approximately 2 million people per year. All members are nonprofit, mission-driven, community-based agencies and many are known as Consumer Credit Counseling Service (CCCS). The NFCC offers credit counseling, debt reduction services, and financial literacy education to consumers throughout the country. For more information about the NFCC network visit the website or call (800) 388-2227.

Homeownership counseling

The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development certifies and funds housing counseling agencies throughout the country that can provide advice on buying a home, renting, defaults, foreclosures, credit issues, and reverse mortgages.

HUD offers a Homeownership for All program that provides prospective homeowners with modules that explain the basics of buying a home, and what is expected of a buyer.

NeighborWorks® Network
Campaign for Homeownership - 1993-2005

This joint four-year effort of banks, insurance companies, the secondary market, government, the real estate industry, and others working with more than 100 local Neighborhood Housing Services (NHS) organizations aims to educate 500,000 families, create 50,000 new low- and moderate-income homebuyers (including 30,000 minority homebuyers), and generate $2.9 billion of investment. By teaching these consumers about homeownership and by preparing them to be homeowners through pre- and post-purchase counseling, local NHS organizations reduce the risk of delinquency and foreclosure.

Fannie Mae

These agencies are primarily community-based nonprofit groups that specialize in pre- and post-purchase homeowner education and credit counseling. Some of these agencies also provide homeowner education classes for borrowers who use Fannie Mae's Community Home Buyer's Program and other loan products that require such education as part of the loan approval.

Freddie Mac
Homebuyer Resources

These credit, mortgage finance, and home-buying resources are designed to assist prospective homebuyers and existing homeowners. Spanish language Version

Recognizing and avoiding abusive lending practices

"Don't Borrow Trouble" Campaign
This campaign, originally created by the City of Boston and the Massachusetts Community and Banking Council, is being launched across the Nation by Freddie Mac. The campaign uses a combination of advertisements and public service announcements to educate borrowers about predatory lending practices. In addition to Boston, the campaign has been introduced in Atlanta, Baltimore, Chicago, Cleveland, Dayton, Detroit, Eastern North Carolina, Los Angeles, New Orleans, Oakland, Southern Nevada, Syracuse, and the State of Delaware.

NeighborWorks® Network - Predatory Lending
Information and training resources that are available through the NeighborWorks® Network. Helps consumers target and avoid some financial products that might pose threats to them, possibly resulting in the loss of their homes.

Small business and microenterprise technical assistance

Small Business Administration (SBA)
Small Business Development Centers (SBDC)

The SBA administers the SBDC program to provide management assistance to current and prospective small business owners. Nearly 1,000 SBDCs exist nationwide that provide a wide variety of information and guidance.

Service Corps of Retired Executives is a nonprofit association dedicated to encouraging the formation, growth, and success of small business through counseling and mentor programs.

The Association for Enterprise Opportunity is a national association of organizations committed to microenterprise development and maintains a clearinghouse of microenterprise development programs.

The Microfinance Gateway is a public forum for the microfinance industry at large that offers a wealth of tailored services for microfinance professionals, including resource centers on specific topics in microfinance, a searchable library of electronic documents, a consultant database, a new bulletin board, and specialized discussion groups. The Gateway's resources constitute a comprehensive source of information on microfinance on the World Wide Web, featuring 3900 online documents and over 900 listings of microfinance institutions (MFIs).

Financial literacy for limited English proficiency populations

The Appleseed Foundation - Financial Access for Latino Immigrants - Appleseed is working to bring Hispanic immigrants into the mainstream American financial system, thus helping them avoid predatory and other high-cost financial services, and enabling them to save, access credit, and build wealth.

National Council of La Raza (NCLR) - The mission of the NCLR Community Development program (NCLR-CD) is to build healthy communities through the creation of social, political, and economic wealth. NCLR seeks to measurably increase the level of liquid, nonliquid, and institutional assets held by the Hispanic/Latino community. This will be measured both by the wealth of individual families and the amount of capital assets controlled by Latino institutions. NCLR brings considerable resources to this issue, a strong track record in community development, the largest Hispanic Community Development Finance Institution (CDFI) providing low-cost capital to communities, and demonstrated capacity to analyze and shape public policy.

Pew Hispanic Center - Founded in 2001, the Pew Hispanic Center is a nonpartisan research organization supported by The Pew Charitable Trusts. Its mission is to improve understanding of the U.S. Hispanic population and to chronicle Latinos' growing impact on the entire nation. The Center does not advocate for or take positions on policy issues.

MoneyWi$e - MoneyWi$e, a national financial literacy partnership of Consumer Action and Capital One, is the first program of its kind to combine free, multilingual financial education materials, curricula and teaching aids with regional meetings and roundtables to train community-based organization staff so that consumers at all income levels and walks of life can be reached.

OCC Financial Literacy Updates



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The Office of the Comptroller of the Currency was created by Congress to charter national banks, to oversee a nationwide system of banking institutions, and to assure that national banks are safe and sound, competitive and profitable, and capable of serving in the best possible manner the banking needs of their customers.

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