Office of Public Engagement

Improving Financial Literacy for Our Economic Recovery

Senior Advisor Valerie Jarrett was the closing speaker for Operation HOPE’s Global Financial Literacy Summit at TheARC in Anacostia on Wednesday, June 17th.
 
(Photo credit: Jason Miccolo Johnson)
She was introduced by John Hope Bryant, Founder and Chairman of Operation HOPE and Vice-Chair for the President’s Advisory Council on Financial Literacy. Civil rights legends Dr. Dorothy Height of the National Congress of Negro Women and Former Ambassador Andrew Young joined Valerie Jarrett on stage as she discussed how the central pillars of the President’s agenda -- health care, energy and education -- are tied to our economic recovery and long term stability.  She then highlighted key points from President Obama’s announcement earlier on Wednesday about regulatory reform and specifically made mention of the newly created consumer financial protection agency to help protect consumers from misleading practices. This was music to the ears of those in attendance who have long advocated for consumer protection and education. Valerie discussed how improved understanding and decision making around finances can help with so many decisions impacting our lives, from credit card rates to student loans to mortgage payments:
Part of our plan is to create a new and powerful agency to look out for consumers. Today’s consumers have a bewildering set of choices whether they are looking for a student loan, a mortgage or a credit card. There is fine print and hidden terms.
This new agency will have the power to set standards for companies to offer consumers the products they want in a way they can understand. Unfair practices will be banned. Enforcement will be the rule, not the exception.
But we need your help. We must improve the financial literacy of our consumers. Government can’t do it all. 
President Obama thanks you for your commitment to global financial literacy so that all consumers have the basic information they need. The information that is so important today to buy a home, pay for a college education or save for retirement with dignity.
972 delegates from 31 countries and six continents attended the summit where Ben Bernanke (Chair, Federal Reserve), Sheila Bair (Chair, FDIC), Michelle Greene (Deputy Assistant Secretary for Financial Education, Treasury Department) and Dr. Leonard Haynes (Executive Director, White House Initiative on Historically Black Colleges and Universities) also spoke on behalf of the administration about the importance of financial literacy on an individual and business basis and how it is critical to our economic recovery. 
 
(Photo credit: Jason Miccolo Johnson)  
It was a truly historic event where national and international leaders came together to ensure that communities receive the education and resources needed to promote greater understanding of their financial decisions and the potential impacts of those decisions. Financial literacy is critically important to our economic recovery and success and is an issue of great focus and priority to the President and his administration. 
 

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