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Treasury Notes

 A One-Stop-Shop for Innovators

By: Sophie Raseman and Nicholas Bramble
9/18/2012

All too often entrepreneurs and innovators lack easy access to the information they need to build effective online and app-based consumer tools. In an effort to change that, Treasury today launched a new Finance Data Directory, which will make finance-related data sets from multiple federal agencies available to the public in one convenient location.  

Resources like the Directory are part of ongoing Administration efforts to foster innovation by making government data sets more accessible and usable. Just last week, the White House held a “Safety Datapalooza” where officials announced new safety data resources, including valuable tools to strengthen emergency response and preparedness, and provide real-time details about natural disasters.

Entrepreneurs will utilize the Directory’s finance data sets in different ways to help consumers manage their money or make personal finance choices. One company already uses the Department of Labor’s data to help employees understand the 401(k) plans offered by their employers; another company makes use of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau’s recently launched credit card complaint database to help consumers monitor their accounts for suspicious charges. 

The Finance Data Directory is part of Treasury’s work to promote the development of the next generation of personal finance tools that promote financial capability. Treasury is working to promote smart disclosure, for example, in order to make data available in ways that can be used to create tools that help Americans take control of their financial lives. We are also leading the MyMoneyAppUp Challenge, a contest intended to motivate American entrepreneurs, software developers, the public, and students to propose ideas and designs for mobile tools to help Americans control and shape their financial futures. The new Directory will make it easier for contributors to the MyMoneyAppUp Challenge and others interested in next generation applications to use federal government data sets to start building working mobile tools.

Still, this new Directory is only an initial step for Treasury. We will continue to expand and improve the Directory, but to do so we need to hear from you. Your ideas will help us foster innovations in personal finance tools and promote financial capability. We encourage the public to explore the Finance Data Directory and suggest ways for Treasury to improve on how the data can be presented to help financial consumers make smarter financial choices. If you have a great idea for a data set to include, an example of how these data sets are being used today or can be used in the future, or any other feedback, tweet at @USTreasury with the hashtag #financedata or email financedata@treasury.gov.

Sophie Raseman is the Director of Smart Disclosure in Treasury’s Office of Consumer Policy. Nicholas Bramble is a Presidential Innovation Fellow in the Office of Consumer Policy.

Posted in:  Consumer Policy
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