WASHINGTON -- A burgeoning financial services market is great for options and opportunity so long as there is also consumer education.
"It's as if every American received an unwanted promotion to be CFO of their household," Treasury Deputy Assistant Secretary for Financial Education Dan Iannicola told participants of CUNA's National Financial Literacy Summit Sept. 26 at the National Press Club in Washington, D.C. He pointed out that Treasury held a seminar on credit scoring on-site, during work hours and 130 people showed; Treasury figures if they are not worried about finances, employees could be more productive. Iannicola also noted that workers are moving from employer controlled retirement benefits to private investment products while, at the same time, credit cards are more available and home financing has gotten increasingly creative. With all these options, credit unions can work to educate their members through www.mymoney.gov or 1-888-MY-MONEY. There, consumers and credit unions can get materials on anything from balancing a checkbook to investing in a 401(k). Iannicola joked that he did not get much interest promoting the Web site as free, but when he said "pre-paid"--through tax dollars--people took notice; the site has gotten 1.4 million visitors and nearly one million publications have been distributed from the effort. He added that organizations have asked if they can link to it from their site to which he replies, "It's not OK if you don't link to it." --firstname.lastname@example.org