Federal Reserve Board Governor Edward M. Gramlich and Treasury Assistant Secretary for Financial Institutions Wayne A. Abernathy on Thursday convened a panel discussion on credit management with representatives of financial services organizations and companies. Treasury Deputy Assistant Secretary for Financial Education Judy Chapa moderated the discussion.
"We must take steps to educate all Americans about the importance of responsible credit management," said Assistant Secretary Abernathy. "A good credit rating is critical to the American family--opening the door to homeownership, entrepreneurial business loans, assistance with higher education costs and many other goals. We welcome this exchange of ideas on how to best focus our efforts."
"Credit must be managed wisely," said Governor Gramlich. "People who understand the fundamentals of money management are more likely to make decisions that promote their own well-being and, on a broader scale, foster a more efficient economy. I hope that today's initiative will inspire additional research into the most effective credit management techniques and educational tools."
During the meeting, the participants plan to reach consensus on core principles that they would use as they work to strengthen Americanís understanding of credit management.
Participants in the panel discussion included representatives from the National Foundation for Credit Counseling, the Association for Financial Counseling and Planning Education, the In-Charge Institute, the American Bankers Association, America's Community Bankers, the Credit Union National Foundation, the Fannie Mae Foundation, Freddie Mac, American Express, MasterCard, Visa, the Community Financial Services Association of America, the Consumer Federation of America, the National Council of La Raza, AARP, and College Parents of America.
The issue of credit management is one of four areas of focus by the Treasury Departmentís Office of Financial Education (OFE), established in 2002 and headed by Deputy Assistant Secretary Chapa. The OFE works to ensure that Americans have access to financial education programs and that they obtain the practical knowledge and skills that will enable them to make informed financial choices through various life stages. The OFE chairs the Federal Government Financial Education Coordinating Group.
As the agency with responsibility for the Truth in Lending Act regulations, the Federal Reserve has worked to promote access to credit and fair lending for under-served consumers and communities. In 2000, the Federal Reserve hosted a discussion on best practices in consumer credit education; and through its web site (www.FederalReserveEducation.org) and consumer education materials is working to make sure consumers know their rights and responsibilities in credit transactions.