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.
On January 25, 2013, President Obama signed Executive Order 13646 creating a new President's Advisory Council on Financial Capability for Young Americans. The Council is comprised of the Secretary of the Treasury, the Secretary of Education, the Director of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau and up to 22 non-governmental members who will provide advice to the President and the Secretary of the Treasury on how to promote the financial capability of young Americans and encourage building the financial capability of young people at an early stage in schools, families, communities, and the workplace, and through use of technology.
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.
1. Upcoming Financial Literacy and Education Commission Events
WEBCAST AVAILABLE: GOV. MARKELL OF DELAWARE TO DELIVER REMARKS BEFORE THE FINANCIAL LITERACY AND EDUCATION COMMISSION
On February 12, 2014, Governor Jack Markell of Delaware will deliver remarks to a public meeting of the Financial Literacy and Education Commission. Through initiatives he has launched as State Treasurer and as Governor, he has created many new opportunities to financially empower Delawareans. He will discuss the role of states and localities in promoting financial capability for children and youth. A panel discussion will follow, with presentations from leaders from San Francisco, Arizona, Nevada and a national financial education organization.
Director Richard Cordray of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau and Cyrus Amir-Mokri, Assistant Secretary for Financial Institutions, also will address the Commission.
Ray Boshara, Director of the Center for Household Financial Stability of the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis, will speak on “Building a Healthy Balance Sheet Early in Life.”
A live webcast will be available here: http://treas.yorkcast.com/webcast/Play/2da53e68255341a2874eed63fcfc2cf71d at 9:00 a.m. EST on Feb. 12.
No registration is required to view the webcast. Please feel free to share this link.
To view the agenda, please click here.
If you have questions regarding this meeting or registration questions for this meeting please email firstname.lastname@example.org
2. Field Hearing on Financial Capability in the Workplace
As part of America Saves Week, the Financial Literacy and Education Commission (the Commission) would like to invite you to a field hearing on improving employee financial capability through workplace financial education. The event will take place on February 25, 2014 from 1:00 pm-3:30 pm at the Sam Nunn Federal Building-Atlanta.
The hearing will share the Commission's work with the public and allow us to learn about promising practices for delivering financial education in the workplace; existing opportunities, challenges and barriers to delivery of financial education in the workplace; and strategies for engaging employees around financial education in the workplace. This dialogue will provide the Commission insights into the important work occurring in the region and across the country.
Please register here:. http://www.cvent.com/events/field-hearing-on-workplace-financial-education/event-summary-6584005931b54901bc126ed63268f7b2.aspx
We will also live cast the event; check back for the link to the webcast. You do not need to register if you plan to view the webcast only.
This field hearing will include a public comments segment during which audience members are invited to share their comments on topics related to building employee financial capability in the workplace. Members of the public will have one minute to share their comments and will need to sign up at the event site to take part in this segment of the hearing.
If you have questions contact Ken McDonnell at the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau: Kenneth.email@example.com
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)
- Assessing Financial Capability Outcomes, Youth Pilot: Full Report : The Department of the Treasury commissioned this report on building the financial knowledge and capability of young people. The research, conducted by the Corporation for Enterprise Development over two years, assesses the interplay of classroom financial education and access to a savings account for school-aged children in Eau Claire, WI and Amarillo, TX. The research examines how these two important strategies can affect elementary-age students' financial knowledge, savings practices, and attitudes and confidence in their financial actions.
- Assessing Financial Capability Outcomes, Youth Pilot: Research Brief
- Assessing Financial Capability Outcomes, Youth Pilot: Lessons from the Field – Amarillo, TX
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.