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CFPB Announces Plans to Use Libraries as Financial Education Hubs

Director Richard Cordray speaks to the Federal Reserve in Chicago about educating and empowering consumers to help them make responsible financial decisions.

In partnership with several other federal agencies and public libraries across the United States, the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau is launching a Community Financial Education Project to provide libraries with a collection of financial education resources and tools to benefit consumers.

During an April 7, 2014, speech at the Federal Reserve in Chicago, CFPB Director Richard Cordray said the goals of the partnership come with a sense of urgency.

“We have just suffered through the most serious financial crisis of our lifetimes—the most dislocating economic event in this country since the Great Depression. Families lost trillions of dollars in household wealth; many lost their homes and their life savings,” Cordray said. “We are slowly recovering, but the hard has been deep and broad and its effects on social economic behavior may well be lasting.”

While the CFPB focuses on rulemaking and oversight of financial markets, Cordray said, “it is also fundamental that consumers need to be able to protect themselves—to avoid problems in the first place and know what to do when they do experience a problem. Our new agency is uniquely positioned to help bridge the widening gap between people’s actual financial capability and the increasingly complex financial decisions they have to make.  In order to do that, we must consciously devote ourselves to the crucial importance of financial education in our society.”

Together with agencies such as the Institute of Museum and Library Services and the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation as well as nine library systems across the United States, Cordray said the CFPB is beginning a pilot project to transform libraries into neighborhood centers of financial education.

“Through this partnership, we hope to gain more foot soldiers on the ground with the ability and the commitment to talk with people, learn about their needs, and help them become better consumers,” Cordray said.  “We want Americans to have the tools and resources available to them so that they can be financially capable and develop the self-reliance to look out for themselves.”

“Today’s pilot project is just the beginning, and we foresee rapid expansion to any and all libraries interested in joining with us to strengthen the financial foundation for all Americans.”

View footage from the CFPB event in Chicago.

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