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FDIC Chairman Donald E. Powell Voices Strong Support for New Financial Literacy Commission

MS-03-2004 (1-30-04)
Media Contact:
Sally Kearney (202) 898-8675

Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC) Chairman Donald E. Powell voiced strong support for a nationwide effort to promote financial literacy at the first meeting of the Financial Literacy and Education Commission on January 29. The Commission, chaired by Secretary of the Treasury John Snow and consisting of members representing 20 federal departments, agencies and commissions, was created by Congress to develop a national strategy to promote financial education and financial literacy among all Americans.

"We are proud to be a part of this group and we commend the leadership of Congress for establishing the Commission," Chairman Powell said. He then reiterated the FDIC's commitment to financial literacy, pointing to the FDIC's Money Smart program, an award-winning financial education curriculum designed to meet the needs of low- and moderate-income adults. "We have been involved in financial literacy for some time," Chairman Powell said. "Our Money Smart program has reached more than 100,000 people to date."

Chairman Powell also emphasized the need for financial literacy efforts to focus on basic "life skills," such as learning how to balance a checkbook, opening a checking account, and understanding the consequences of debt. "We need to make sure we reach those who are not part of the financial mainstream," he said.

The meeting was attended by representatives of numerous agencies, who shared their experiences with developing financial literacy programs and suggested ways in which the Commission members can work together to promote financial literacy. At the meeting, as part of the Commission's legislative mandate, members agreed to form a subcommittee to consider how to establish a toll-free hotline for inquiries about issues pertaining to financial literacy and education. Members agreed that Chairman Powell will chair the subcommittee.

"The FDIC has played a leadership role in financial education, and we are pleased to offer our resources and experience in guiding the creation of a toll-free hotline to respond to inquiries from Americans across the country," Chairman Powell said. "Our experience with the Money Smart program has shown us the value of forging dynamic partnerships. The Commission will give all its members the opportunity to forge broad-based partnerships and bring together an impressive array of resources. The FDIC is committed to this effort and is looking forward to working with the Commission."

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Congress created the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation in 1933 to restore public confidence in the nation's banking system. The FDIC insures deposits at the nation's 9,237 banks and savings associations and it promotes the safety and soundness of these institutions by identifying, monitoring and addressing risks to which they are exposed. The FDIC receives no federal tax dollars - insured financial institutions fund its operations.

FDIC press releases and other information are available on the Internet at or contact the FDIC's Public Information Center (877-275-3342 or 202-416-6940).

Last Updated 01/30/2004

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