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WASHINGTON-House Financial Services Committee Members Judy Biggert (R-Ill.) and Rubn Hinojosa (D-Texas) recently launched a Financial and Economic Literacy Caucus for members of Congress. The caucus will provide interested members of Congress a forum to promote policies to advance financial literacy and economic education. It aims to increase public awareness of the poor financial literacy around the country and do something about it. The Financial and Economic Literacy Caucus will highlight successful policies in all levels of government, the private sector, and nonprofit best practices. Specifically, it will identify and analyze legislation of interest; circulate `Dear Colleague’ letters to promote legislation; organize special order speeches; host roundtables, staff briefings and other educational forums; organize and promote events like Financial Literacy Month in April, which credit unions have participated in; establish a Web site, and act as liaison to the Senate and executive branch, including the Financial Literacy and Education Commission, which NCUA Chairman JoAnn Johnson serves on. Biggert and Hinojosa cited 2004 reports that showed nearly two-thirds of high school students failed a basic financial literacy exam and adults did not do much better. At the same time, bankruptcy rates have reached record levels. “If our schools don’t teach the ABCs of finance and economics, our children are more likely to fall into debt and behind in life, especially in today’s global economy,” Biggert said. “Congressman Hinojosa and I will continue to take on this challenge. The Financial and Economic Literacy Caucus will help us spread the word throughout the halls of Congress that we must take an active role in ensuring that our citizens of all ages and walks of life have access to objective financial education.” Hinojosa commented, “It is my hope that through the Financial and Economic Literacy Caucus, we, along with our colleagues, can further educate Americans about financial and economic topics ranging from home ownership to credit ratings and insurance during all stages of their lives.”

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