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CUNA Fin ed efforts must be part of any aid to unbanked
WASHINGTON (11/21/11)--The Credit Union National Association (CUNA) in a recent comment letter encouraged the U.S. Treasury to promote a variety of initiatives aimed at increasing financial access for all consumers, and added that any initiative focused on financial access "should include the concept of financial education as a core component."

The Treasury's Office of Financial Education and Financial Access is in the process of developing a multiyear program of grants, cooperative agreements, financial agency agreements, and other efforts in a bid to aid unbanked and underbanked Americans. Specifically, the Treasury has been tasked with increasing low- and moderate-income individuals' access to financial services from federally insured depository institutions.

This effort was prompted by Section 1204 of the Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform Act.

CUNA encouraged the Treasury to consider financial institutions of all asset sizes as it assesses how it will distribute awards and grants and develop agreements.

Participating institutions should also have the option to offer economically appropriate products, such as free or low-cost checking and savings accounts with no minimum balance requirements, to increase access to financial services, CUNA added.

Classroom- and workplace-based education, as well as rewards programs, should be considered as viable ways to enhance consumer knowledge of basic and more complex financial concepts, CUNA said. The Treasury should also feature credit unions and banks equally in any promotional or educational material it produces as part of this endeavor, CUNA added.

For the full comment letter, use the resource link.


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