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Evaluations, Outreach Are Keys To CFPB Financial Ed Efforts
WASHINGTON (3/27/13)--Evaluating the effectiveness of current financial education efforts and reaching out to the public to hear about how current financial education approaches can be improved are two key components of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau's financial literacy work, bureau officials wrote in a Tuesday blog post.

The CFPB noted it has conducted listening sessions and released public information requests to collect comments on financial education needs. As a result of its outreach endeavors, the CFPB said it has "heard loud and clear that a comprehensive approach to financial education is needed and in order to be effective, it has to be salient, well-timed, integrated, and comprehensive."

New financial education strategies that incorporate behavioral psychology research and developing projects that address the specific issues and challenges that consumers confront on a daily basis are also near-term CFPB projects, according to the post.

The benefits of financial coaching are also being examined by the CFPB, and the bureau said it is working with the Corporation for Enterprise Development to uncover which "combinations of knowledge, skills, behaviors, and attitudes help consumers succeed in achieving their own financial goals."

Financial education is a core credit union principle, and financial literacy improvement efforts will especially be on display during April's Financial Literacy Month. The Credit Union National Association is observing Financial Literacy Month by holding National Credit Union Youth Week April 21-27. During the week, credit unions nationwide teach the benefits of saving and goal setting, and invite youth to open savings accounts at their credit union and make deposits throughout the year.

CUNA also conducts the National Youth Saving Challenge throughout April. The challenge rewards 10 savers with $100 cash prizes. Last April, 241 credit unions joined the Saving Challenge and engaged 125,867 youth, who deposited a collective $21.3 million in their credit union savings accounts, including 7,300 new member accounts.

"It makes good business sense for credit unions to help members make the most of their financial resources. We believe that educated consumers choose credit unions as their best financial partner," said Susan Tiffany, CUNA director of consumer periodicals. "We also believe it's the right thing to do." (See March 25 News Now story: Financial Literacy Month an Opportunity For CUs to Shine)
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