As we start to look forward to spring, it’s worth noting that April is traditionally a month devoted to shining a spotlight on helping consumers understand how to effectively make key financial decisions. While names for the month vary a bit -- usually it’s called Financial Capability Month, Financial Literacy Month or Financial Education Month -- let’s use this April to do some spring cleaning and plant the seeds for new or improved collaborations with other organizations to help people achieve their financial goals.
What are some examples? Why not look for new partners already working in your area? For instance, some communities are increasingly making connections between providers of social services (such as public aid or free income-tax preparation) and the delivery of financial education workshops, handouts or financial counseling. Some recent research indicates that bundling financial education with other services may improve financial success for some families. Developing these partnerships may require reaching out and forming new or very different relationships with organizations you had not previously considered – but consider thinking about giving it a try.
Also, we encourage you to inform your stakeholders about the consumer information resources available from the FDIC and other federal agencies. Start by visiting mymoney.gov, the federal government’s central website for financial education-related resources from more than 20 federal agencies. This site can give you ideas for new ways to collaborate with other organizations, such as by reaching out to a local U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development field office for suggestions on how to help put families on the path to sustainable homeownership.
In this edition of Money Smart News,we not only highlight news you can use but also success stories involving collaboration that we hope will foster ideas and action by our readers.
As always, contact the FDIC if we can help you pursue your goals for financial education. Send us an e-mail at communityaffairs@FDIC.gov.
Mark Pearce Director
FDIC Division of Depositor and Consumer Protection
Our Latest Success Stories: How Two Partnerships Are Using Money Smart to Change Lives Money Smart can be used effectively through partnerships established with a variety of organizations. In this edition of our Money Smart “Success Stories,” we see how one such partnership is helping to bring a homeless population back into society, and how another one is providing financial literacy and homeownership counseling to empower individuals to break the cycle of poverty. (Read the stories.)
FDIC Releases Latest Survey of Banks' Efforts to Serve the Unbanked and Underbanked
On December 13, 2012, the FDIC released the results of its second Survey of Banks' Efforts to Serve the Unbanked and Underbanked. The results provide insights into the outreach, education, marketing and retail strategies being used by banks to meet the needs of underserved consumers. The findings can help banks and policymakers identify opportunities and potential successful strategies to help meet the diverse financial needs of U.S. households. The report and an executive summary can be read at http://fdic.gov/unbankedsurveys.
Advisory Committee Discusses Savings Trends and Mobile Banking for the Unbanked and Underbanked
Also on December 13, 2012, the FDIC’s Advisory Committee on Economic Inclusion (ComE-IN) discussed trends in the U.S. savings rate and initiatives to encourage households to save more. The committee also explored mobile financial services and how they can be used to address the target populations. To see the handouts or watch a video from the meeting, which included a discussion of the 2011 FDIC survey noted above, start at http://www.fdic.gov/about/comein/2012/2012-12-13_agenda.html.
FDIC Publishes a Money Guide for Young Adults and Teens
The FDIC has published a collection of simple, practical tips for young adults and teens on saving, managing money, and avoiding financial scams. This special edition of the agency's quarterly FDIC Consumer News (Fall 2012), entitled "For Young Adults and Teens: Quick Tips for Managing Your Money," also includes suggestions for parents and caregivers on saving for a child's future and teaching youngsters about money. Financial educators are encouraged to use FDIC Consumer News as a supplemental handout for students. See this issue of the newsletter and subscription information (the newsletter is available free) at www.fdic.gov/consumers/consumer/news/cnfall12.
Reminder: Tax Season Offers Business, CRA Opportunities for Financial Institutions
Participation in the IRS Volunteer Income Tax Assistance (VITA) program, for which IRS-certified volunteers provide free tax preparation for low- and moderate-income individuals, is a potential opportunity for financial institutions to bring in new business and earn credit toward compliance with the Community Reinvestment Act. Most VITA sites are operated by broad-based coalitions of partners that include non-profits, governmental entities, and private-sector organizations such as financial institutions. To find a VITA site or coalition near you, visit http://www.irs.gov/Individuals/Free-Tax-Return-Preparation-for-You-by-Volunteers.
America Saves Week: A Financial Education Opportunity America Saves Week (February 25 to March 2, 2013) was an annual opportunity for organizations to promote good savings behavior and a chance for consumers to begin saving more effectively. Typically, more than 2,000 organizations participate and reach millions of consumers. To learn more, go to www.americasavesweek.org. For a look at how the FDIC supported America Saves Week, see our press release. FDIC resources for financial educators that are available to support saving money include the Pay Yourself First module in the instructor-led Money Smart curriculum for adults, as well as various FDIC Consumer News articles (start at http://www.fdic.gov/deposit/deposits/savings.html).
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The FDIC wants to hear how Money Smart is making a difference. We're interested in finding out about your programs and procedures, tips and other information that Money Smart educators and partners might find useful. The best contributions may appear in a future issue of Money Smart News. See our previously published success stories. Submit your stories today!
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