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WASHINGTON-Treasury Financial Education Deputy Secretary Judy Chapa told attendees of NAFCU’s Congressional Caucus last week that the increasing complexity of the financial services market breeds a greater need for financial education to understand all available financial services options. “It means that Americans need to be fully prepared and financially educated to take full advantage of these opportunities,” Chapa said. “Financial education prepares people to make informed financial decisions and to fulfill their potential as individuals. And when individuals fulfill their potential, there is an overall positive impact on the nation’s economy. We believe that financial education provides a weapon in a consumer’s arsenal against predatory lending practices and other forms of fraud and abuse.” While Chapa just arrived at the Treasury Department in May, she has hit the ground running. The new office’s mission is to ensure all Americans have access to financial education and that all American’s have practical financial skills, she explained. The first topics she plans to tackle, along with other agencies include basic savings, credit management, homeownership, and retirement planning. The agency will focus on financial literacy at all stages in a person’s life, but she recognized that an early start is key. Treasury will release a white paper on the subject October 3. In mid-October, Chapa plans to meet with four other agencies working on the issue to ensure they all work together and that duplication is minimized. [email protected]

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