Settlement Highlights Need for Consumer Education

Yesterday’s announced settlement by the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) with a well-known debt-settlement provider – along with several other recent actions by the CFPB and the FTC against debt-settlement firms – highlights not only the need to continue to protect financially vulnerable consumers, but also to reinforce the importance of consumer financial literacy.

AFSA supports the CFPB’s and FTC’s efforts to protect consumers. Settlements like these highlight the real differences between the kind of predatory financial services firms that prey on financial insecurity, and credit counselors who work with consumers to get their financial lives back on track.

The settlement also highlights the ongoing need to expand efforts around financial literacy. The AFSA Educational Foundation’s MoneySKILL program has built a curriculum for to provide students of all ages with the fundamentals of money-management. Students at the elementary school level access grade-appropriate content in subject areas, such as income, expenses, saving and investing, credit, and insurance. The high school and college courses are designed to be integrated into coarse work on economics, business, math or personal finances. MoneySKILL curriculums are updated annually to keep current with the needs of students.

The goal of the foundation is to empower young people with the financial know-how so that they can be informed consumers who won’t have to deal with companies that are more focused on achieving their firm’s financial goals than those of their customers.