Financial literacy was the focus of Director Cordray’s remarks last week at the American Bankers Association Annual Convention.  He identified three areas where the CFPB is focusing its efforts and where financial institutions can “band together with [the CFPB]” to advance such efforts.

The first area of focus is financial education in schools, with the goal of helping young people increase their financial capability.  Director Cordray commented that he is seeing financial institutions across the country devote “time and effort to finding ways to help young people obtain financial know-how and skill,” including providing support for teacher training.  He also discussed the importance of integrating financial education into the school curriculum and urged attendees “to set the goal of making sure that financial education is required learning in all 50 states.”

The second area of focus is workplace financial education.  Director Cordray commented that financial institutions “should lead by example” and model employee financial education for other employers.  He stated that the CFPB wants “to see big banks, small banks, community banks – all financial providers of all shapes and sizes – and all employers across the entire economy find better ways to connect with their employees during [various] key life moments and implement programs to boost financial capability.”  He also commented that banks “can make it a priority to educate their own employees and help them develop and use sound financial strategies, including savings for both emergencies and retirement” and that the CFPB also wants banks “to be conscious of what more you can do to ensure that your employees understand and optimize the existing benefits already available to them.”  He suggested that banks “launch strategic awareness campaigns to promote positive financial behavior.”

The third area of focus is financial well-being for older Americans.  Director Cordray noted that the CFPB has released guides for lay fiduciaries and discussed the CFPB’s efforts to help older people and their families prevent elder financial exploitation.  He commented that “to [banks’] credit,” the CFPB has found that “banks are often the first ones to spot these danger signs” and “can often act to stop older accountholders from being victimized.”  He also praised the American Bankers Association Foundation for recently launching the “Safe Banking for Seniors” campaign.