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    Financial Literacy Resource Directory

    This directory provides descriptions and contact information for a sampling of organizations that have undertaken financial literacy initiatives as a primary mission.  These activities are organized under five broad categories :

    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.

    Basic Financial Services and Asset Building

    General Resources

    The U.S. Treasury Department’s Office of Financial Education maintains an online “Federal Financial Education Resources” directory.  The directory provides access to many resources available within the federal government to assist in the implementation of financial education initiatives.

    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.

    School Programs

    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 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.

    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.  Its in-school financial literacy program, JA Personal Finance, is designed to teach students about topics ranging from everyday personal financial decisions to major investment strategies and outcomes.

    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 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 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.

    Adult Basic Financial Services

    The National Center on Poverty Law has developed a Financial Links for Low Income people initiative that offers financial literacy classes and helps participants set up savings accounts at participating financial institutions.  Those who complete the classes and make deposits every month are eligible for matching money.

    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, and Chinese, with a Vietnamese version scheduled for release in late 2003.

    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 Neighborhood Reinvestment Corporation, 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.
    Cooperative Extension has also developed a retirement planning curriculum, “Financial Security Later in Life.”

    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.

    Individual Development Account (IDA)

    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 conduct a 5-year, $125 million demonstration to establish 40,000 to 50,000 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 is a national nonprofit network of 1,450 Neighborhood Financial Care Centers designed to provide assistance to people dealing with stressful financial situations.

    Consumer Credit Counseling Services (CCCS) is a nationwide nonprofit service, composed of local and regional affiliates, that offers free and confidential budget, credit, and housing counseling plus debt repayment plans.  Examples of CCCS are:

    Freddie Mac
    Freddie Mac has established a program through which lenders offer mortgages to borrowers who have completed at least an 18-month debt management plan through one of the program’s participating counseling agencies.  The debt management plans put families on a strict budget that requires a certain percentage of their income go to living expenses, with the remainder to pay down debts.  This program allows families with impaired credit to qualify for secondary market eligible mortgages much faster than would otherwise be possible.

    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.

    Neighborworks Network
    Campaign for Homeownership 2003-2007
    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 foreclosu re.

    Fannie Mae
    Find A Credit Counselor
    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.

    A Spanish language version is available at

    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 Lenders and Other Sharks in the Financial Waters

    This curriculum is designed to be used in a workshop or as a stand-alone guide to help consumers target and avoid some financial products that might pose threats to them, possibly resulting in the loss of their homes.

    Small Business and Microenteprise 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.



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