The Office of Consumer Policy leads the Department’s work to ensure that every American has access to safe and affordable financial products and services, and clear information that enables individuals to make sound financial decisions. The office is engaged in policy development in the areas of consumer financial education and capability; emerging payments platforms; technology to improve consumers’ financial choices; systems to ensure privacy and data security; and related topics. In support of this work, the office provides leadership for the Federal interagency Task Force on Smart Disclosure, the Federal Financial Literacy and Education Commission, and coordinates the President’s Advisory Council on Financial Capability for Young Americans.
Overview of Financial Capability Efforts
Finance Data Directory
Research and Reports
Finance Data Directory
The purpose of the Finance Data Directory is to make it easier for members of the public, software developers, and other innovators to promote financial capability by using finance data to create personal finance tools. This page contains a selection of federal data sets relevant for financial consumers and investors, along with short descriptions of each data set and links to sites where you will be able to find, download, and share the data.
President Obama recently signed Executive Order 13646 creating a new President's Advisory Council on Financial Capability for Young Americans. The Council will be comprised of the Secretary of the Treasury, the Secretary of Education and 22 representatives of the private sector, and state, local and tribal governments who will provide advice and input to the President and the Secretary of the Treasury on ways to build the financial capability of young Americans at an early stage in schools, families, communities, and the workplace, and through use of technology. The Director of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau will be invited to join the Council.
The Council will be in formation over the next few months, and updates will be provided on this site. If you have ideas for the Council to consider, please email email@example.com.
Click here for the blog announcing formation of the new Council.
The President’s Advisory Council for Financial Capability terminated on January 29, 2013. The PACFC Final Report can be found here. For information on the past activities of the Council, click the link.
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The Financial Literacy and Education Commission (FLEC) was established under the Fair and Accurate Credit Transactions Act of 2003. The Commission was tasked to develop a national financial education web site (MyMoney.gov) along with a hotline (1-888-My Money) and a national strategy on financial education. It is chaired by the Secretary of the Treasury and the vice chair is the Director of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau. The Commission is made up of the heads of 19 additional federal agencies: the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency; the Federal Reserve; the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation; the National Credit Union Administration; the Securities and Exchange Commission; the Departments of Education, Agriculture, Defense, Health and Human Services, Housing and Urban Development, Labor, and Veterans Affairs; the Federal Trade Commission; the General Services Administration; the Small Business Administration; the Social Security Administration; the Commodity Futures Trading Commission; the Office of Personnel Management; the Federal Emergency Management Agency; and the White House Domestic Policy Council. The Commission is coordinated by the Department of the Treasury's Office of Financial Education within the Office of Consumer Policy.
Call for Papers
As the promotion of high-quality academic research is an important component of effective financial education and interventions, the Journal of Consumer Affairs and the Financial Literacy and Education Commission (FLEC) invite submissions for a special issue: “Starting Early for Financial Success: Capability into Action.” For more details please click here.
Previous Programs and Activities
- National Financial Capability Challenge
The National Financial Capability Challenge was designed to increase the financial knowledge and capability of high school aged youth across the United States so they can take control over their financial futures. The 2012 National Financial Capability Challenge is now complete. For questions about the 2012 or prior rounds of the National Financial Capability Challenge, email firstname.lastname@example.org. Subscribe to treasury.gov news here: https://public.govdelivery.com/accounts/USTREAS/subscriber/new? to receive updates about future activities to promote youth financial capability.
Through the Financial Education and Counseling Pilot Program, Treasury’s Community Development Financial Institutions (CDFI) Fund, with assistance of the OFEFA, provided grants to enable experienced organizations to provide a range of financial education and counseling services to prospective homebuyers.
The Community Financial Access Pilot (CFAP) is an initiative of the U.S. Department of Treasury’s Office of Financial Education, endorsed by the President’s Advisory Council on Financial Literacy, designed to increase access to financial services and financial education for low- and moderate income families and individuals. Best practices learned from around the country will be shared with participating communities to help them build sustainable approaches to expand financial access among community residents. Lessons learned from the pilot communities will be shared across the country so more communities can develop similar effective approaches.
Research and Reports
- Banking on Opportunity: A Scan of the Evolving Field of Bank On Initiatives This report provides background on the “Bank On” model, a recent approach to expand access to safe, affordable financial services and related financial education for unbanked households, through collaborations of financial institutions, financial educators, trusted community organizations, local and state government leaders, and others. The report provides an overview of the history of Bank On programs, and summary information about program structures, partnerships, funding, successes and challenges, special considerations and gaps in the field. The report also includes case studies from two established initiatives, in Savannah, Georgia, and Seattle-King County, Washington.
- Tax Time Account Direct Mail Pilot Evaluation
Final report on the Tax Time Account pilot concerning cost-effective methods to transition paper check tax refund payments to electronic payments.
- Characteristics of Users of Refund Anticipation Loans and Refund Anticipation Checks
Using IRS data from 2008 and prior years, this report describes characteristics of Refund Anticipation Loans (RAL) and Refund Anticipation Check (RAC) users by demographic factors, Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC) use, income and assets, and geography. The report also includes insights from industry stakeholders on use of RALs and RACs. Many factors--EITC receipt, filing as a head-of-household, having no interest income, and living in a low-income neighborhood--relate strongly to RAL/RAC use, controlling for other characteristics, such as income. Industry stakeholders report consumers demand RALs/RACs partially to pay for return preparation.
- Prohibitions, Price Caps, and Disclosures: A Look at State Policies and Alternative Financial Services Product Use
This study uses new nationally representative survey data to examine the relationship between state-level alternative financial services (AFS) policies (prohibitions, price caps, disclosures) and consumer use of five AFS products: payday loans, auto title loans, pawn broker loans, refund anticipation loans, and rent-to-own transactions. Looking across five products rather than at one product in isolation allows a focus on patterns across products. In general, the results suggest that more stringent price caps and prohibitions are associated with lower product use.
- State Restrictions on Small-Dollar Loans and Financial Services, 2005–2009: Summary, Documentation, and Appendix
This document accompanies the report Prohibitions, Price Caps, and Disclosures, described above, by providing summaries of the types of state loan and financial services restrictions and state-by-state summary tables.
- Research on Financial Behaviors and Use of Small-Dollar Loans and Financial Services: Literature Review
- Summary of Developing a Research Agenda on Small-Dollar Credit and Financial Empowerment (March 4, 2010)
Created by the FLEC, this is the one stop shop for the federal government’s financial education resources.
We recognize that increasing financial capability cannot be achieved by the federal government alone. We need to work closely with our communities and with groups who are working in them, including state and local government, financial institutions, non-profit organizations, and other community-based organizations. Through the FLEC, the Department, along with the Office of Personnel Management, convenes a National Financial Education Network of state and local government entities and their associations interested in topics related to financial education. This group shares ideas among members and with the federal agencies which participate.