EDINBURG, Texas -- At Treasury's Southwest Regional Conference on Reaching Unbanked People, NCUA Chairman JoAnn Johnson and other government officials took the stage to share consumer-oriented best practices.
The conference, which also featured U.S. Treasurer Anna Escobedo Cabral; Deputy Assistant Secretary Dan Iannicola Jr.; staff from the office of Congressman Ruben Hinojosa (D-Texas) and other government officials, was comprised of a variety of financial literacy events. The conference, held at the University of Texas-Pan American in a rural and immigrant community in South Texas, highlighted best practices in helping families take control of their finances, save for retirement, and understand the importance of establishing credit. It is estimated that 23% of families--two times the national average--living in rural Mexican border communities are unbanked.
"Financial education fosters financial stability for individuals and for entire communities," Johnson stated. "As a former teacher, I fully understand the value of education, and I strongly believe that achieving the American Dream of financial self-sufficiency is not based on obtaining a loan or buying a new car--rather, it is the very basics of education--knowing the importance of saving, how to balance a checkbook, budgeting, or investing for retirement. The more people know about credit and financial services, the more likely they are to increase savings, become homeowners, and improve their financial health and well-being."
She noted that as chairman of the MyMoney.gov Web site subcommittee, "I can assure you that increasing access to that Web site, in ways as simple as enhancing the bi-lingual features, will be a priority of mine."
Johnson also emphasized the necessity of establishing and strengthening partnerships at the local, state, and federal level in order to help unbanked communities enter the financial mainstream, and cited NCUA's Access Across America as an effective initiative. "Access Across America is a hands-on workshop that provides credit unions the tools to reach out, to make their services available to everyone who they can legally serve, and to give consumers better access to fairly-priced financial services." --email@example.com