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WASHINGTON-Senate Banking Committee Ranking Member Paul Sarbanes (D-Md.) recently introduced legislation to establish an intergovernmental committee with the aim of bolstering financial education opportunities and improving consumers’ financial decision-making. He said that currently there is little coordination and excessive duplication within the government and outside of it on financial literacy efforts, as well as a lack of a comprehensive strategy. The legislation would create an interagency committee within Treasury, working in conjunction with Treasury’s Office of Financial Education. The Treasury Secretary would chair the committee. The committee would be responsible for developing a national strategy within 12 months to promote financial literacy; review financial education efforts throughout the government; coordinate and promote public and private financial literacy efforts; and submit an annual report on the state of financial education. “The lack of financial education affects Americans of every age and background. Inadequate knowledge of financial issues leaves our consumers vulnerable to exploitation, with unintended and unwanted consequences for them and their families,” Sarbanes commented. Senator Jon Corzine (D-N.J.) co-sponsored the bill. The Senate Banking Committee was gearing up last week for its final round of hearings on Fair Credit Reporting Act preemption extensions, one of which covers consumer awareness and understanding of the credit granting process.

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